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Female doctors in Scotland need more flexible working hours

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Summary of story from Herald Scotland, October 4, 2011

Women in Scotland may be discouraged from becoming doctors because of the incompatibility of work and family life.

The Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh (RCPE) has called for more flexibility in the work life of doctors in order to accommodate working mothers and discourage women from choosing other professions.

Currently, female doctors make up approximately 50 per cent of Scotland’s GPs and more than 25 per cent of hospital consultants.

However, as NHS consultant and chair of the RCPE’s Less Than Full Time Working Group, Dr Alison Brown points out that:

“While the NHS has tried to respond to this by increasing the opportunities to work and train flexibly this has not been at a sufficient rate to meet the rapidly increasing demand.”

She predicts a decrease in female doctors if the NHS does not become even more flexible because “they may be unable to continue in their chosen career once they have young children, and  . . . females may be put off from applying to medical school.”

UK statistics show that since 2001 the number of female doctors has increased by 37 per cent while the number of male doctors has decreased by eight per cent.

While general practice has been a favourite specialty of female doctors because of the increased flexibility in working hours, 46 percent more female doctors registered in Foundation Year training than men in 2010.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon has agreed to take forward the group’s recommendations.

She said: “the issue of female representation within NHS Scotland is important, not just in terms of achieving a fairer society, but also because it will build a better NHS.”

  1. If male enrolment is dropping surely that’s where we should be putting focus if the balance is around 50/50 anyway?

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