Dr Jugnu Mahajan became Barnsley Hospital’s medical director in September 2009, and has devoted more than 20 years working in the NHS.
As well as being a full time medical director, she continues her clinical work in paediatrics, doing two sessions every week at the hospital.
Jugnu trained in her home country of India and came to England to further her career in 1988. “When I joined medical school I started to develop an interest in children’s diseases, especially in a country like mine where the infant mortality rate was very high,” says Jugnu.
“I felt I could make a difference to children’s health and help improve the health of a nation.”
After gaining further qualifications in paediatrics and child health, Jugnu started her NHS career as a senior house officer at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield.
Jugnu, became a consultant paediatrician in 1997 at Rotherham Hospital where she worked for 12 years before coming to Barnsley as medical director. During the last five years of her time at Rotherham she was also clinical director for paediatrics and child health.
As medical director, Jugnu’s role is two-fold: she is the professional lead for all doctors working in the hospital as well as trainees who come from various medical schools. “I provide clinical leadership and ensure that the highest professional standards are maintained.”
Her second remit is as an executive director on the hospital’s management board where her clinical expertise comes into play, providing advice especially on models of service delivery, patient safety and clinical governance.
Looking ahead, Jugnu says an integrated approach is the way to improve services for patients in Barnsley. “Health, local authority and the voluntary sector would come together with patients and their families at the centre. This is part of our overall thinking around how we want to deliver care in Barnsley.”
Working with colleagues, Jugnu is busy implementing a service leadership model within the hospital – a structure that will give clinicians more of a role in decision-making about services. “The idea is to use the model as a vehicle to enhance clinical leadership in service planning and development.
“My role is to help equip them to meet the challenge of leading, and promote more innovation so we can provide the best quality of services for patients within the budgets available.”
Jugnu is married to Ravi who is professor of anaesthesia at Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham. They have a son, Pranav, who is in his fifth year at medical school at Imperial College, London.
Away from medicine, Jugnu relaxes by practising yoga and spending time with her family. She also enjoys creative writing, penning both poetry and stories in her native language, Hindi, and is secretary of a multilingual poetry group which once a year hosts poets from India.
“I’ve had a couple of my poems published in an anthology and hope to have more publishing success this year!”