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Leaders at LTHTR - Celebrating International Women’s Day at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust


Today we are celebrating International Women’s Day across the Trust, a day to mark women’s achievements, raise awareness of discrimination, take action to drive gender parity and embrace equality across the globe.

As part of our celebrations, we’ll be chatting to various directors and divisional directors across our organisation as part of our new ‘Leaders at LTHTR’ feature. Here, you’ll be able to find out more about leaders across our Trust and the topics that matter to them.

Below we talk to Kate Hudson, Divisional Director for Surgery at the Trust, about the importance of diversity in leadership and tackling pre-conceived ideas about how women are expected to behave.

Hi Kate. Firstly, tell us a bit about your role at LTHTR and what it entails…

I am the Divisional Director for Surgery at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals. This includes a wide portfolio of services and responsibilities within a clinical division. My week would often include presenting papers, reviewing information and meeting teams to understand what support they need, chairing meetings and representing the trust in external forums. I am responsible for all the metrics that the division are measured against including safety, quality, financial and workforce measures, but work in partnership with the divisional triumvirate (divisional nursing and divisional medical director) to ensure this brings all our skills together to do the best that we can for our patients and staff.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

I really enjoying seeing how we are celebrating a diversity of women and their lives. It is good to see ho everyone has a different path or achievement to be proud of.

Tell us about your experience into leadership. Have you found that opportunities and career progression has been harder for females than their counterparts?

I started in NHS leadership through the NHS graduate management scheme and gained a good base of experience and support in addition to an MSc in healthcare leadership and service improvement. I have then worked in various operational management and leadership roles. I think the NHS is better in some respects in valuing women in leadership although there is a tendency to assume I’m an “ex-nurse” which a very traditional assumption and this is often from fellow women. There is still an element of the difficulties of balancing family life that I feel women feel more guilt around, which is why I’m always keen to make sure the teams can find flexibility in their work so we can all find time for our families equally.

Why do we need more women in leadership?

We need diversity from every group in leadership, we must ensure this proportionally reflects the population that we are here to look after, and the colleagues that we aspire to lead. We can all make assumptions about how things should be, but diversity of opinion and style gives us the best chance of challenging ourselves and others to be innovative and improve healthcare services considering everyone’s views.

What progress have you seen on gender equality in your life and work?

I think there is great progress particularly for the surgical division at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals with the growth in female surgeons we have, and we do well on this compared to some organisations.

What are the most effective ways to counteract the negative stereotypes of feminism, especially in the workplace? 

I think it’s hard to tackle some of the pre-conceived ideas around how women should behave, and strong women with a voice are often seen very difficult as opposed to valued qualities in men. I think it is important to talk to people about how it feels to be negatively judged as a woman and share experiences. A lot of people don’t realise that they have unconscious bias around women’s roles in society and it’s good to talk about it. We need to make sure we don’t carry this on with our younger generation and support girls to choose what they want to do and not what they think they should.

What advice will you give to your younger self or women wanting to get into leadership roles in the NHS?

Start wherever you can and take every development opportunity you can. We are lucky to get good support for personal development and although it feels like just another thing to do you can learn so much. I also like to read about other women in leadership and their story, I admire Michelle Obama and really enjoyed reading her autobiography.

Get in touch

Chorley and South Ribble Hospital

Preston Road



01257 261222

Royal Preston Hospital

Sharoe Green Lane




01772 716565

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