Hartlepool hospital scientists bridge gender gap

Hospital bosses are celebrating women in science in a bid to inspire the next generation of female scientists.

By Tom Patterson
Friday, 11th February 2022, 12:42 pm

To mark International Day of Women and Girls in Science on Friday, staff at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust’s pathology department hope to pave the way for young girls with an interest in science.

More than 70% of diagnoses involve pathology, making the team an important part of patient care.

Every time a patient at the University Hospital of Hartlepool or the University Hospital of North Tees gives a blood, tissue or urine sample, this is analysed by the trust’s expert pathologists.

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Emma Swindells and Robyn Turnbull

Victoria Armstrong, pathology operational manager at the trust, said: “I think it’s a really good thing to be involved in science, whether you’re a woman or not.

“In pathology, we’re not ‘hands on’ during patient care but we still contribute through a mix of science and our caring for people.”

A significant gender gap has persisted throughout the years at all levels of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines all over the world.

In April 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, two women at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust set up a new process to test suspected coronavirus cases in record time.

Biomedical scientists Emma Swindells and Robyn Turnbull set up the process with support from a dedicated team in just one month – something which

would normally take around six months.

Set up in 2015, the International Day of Women and Girls in Science aims to address this gap and empower female scientists.