Expert woman…me?

As a result of being on the BBC EW list as a health expert, I was approached to comment on emerging news events about Covid-19. Never has the world been so aware or interested in matters normally confined to those immersed in specialised fields (parodied perfectly by Catherine Tate in the skit with David Tennant on the BBC’s Big Night In programme!). I happen to be a clinical epidemiologist with experience in infectious disease epidemiology and a part-time GP, so the 2 together I guess made me a good candidate for providing “expert” knowledge. (Typically as a woman I have to add inverted commas when I use the word “expert” to refer to myself!)

The training and exposure I received from the BBC’s EW programme were invaluable (and actually made me rather upset to think that it has been suspended). To date I have done about 10 pieces (within a fortnight in the early days of the UK epidemic), for online articles, radio and TV, four of which were extended Q&A type broadcasts for the BBC news channel. I have since had to stop taking calls, sadly and hopefully temporarily, due to clinical but especially childcare commitments (in lockdown) as most were live interviews. (I wonder how many men if any, have had to do the same…)

I loved the buzz of doing the interviews, of sharing what I would normally impart to individuals patients (as a GP) or one room of students (as an academic), with thousands of viewers. I hated looking back at the mannerisms I was so unaware of on playback of the clips, and was constantly fearful of any mis-information I might inadvertently give out. But most of all I was proud to be able to help with providing robust information that the public so desperately want and was thankful for the opportunity to contribute.

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