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Tuesday, 29 May, 2001, 23:49 GMT 00:49 UK
Women doctors 'may quit'
Female doctor
Many female doctors want flexible working patterns
A lack of family friendly policies could drive women doctors away from the NHS.

A survey by the British Medical Association's junior doctors committee found a pressing demand for a more flexible approach to training.

More than a third of junior doctors surveyed said they would welcome a training package based on a 40-hour week.

The majority of current flexible trainees are women.

The BMA is calling for the main political parties to commit themselves to family friendly policies.

Warning


We simply cannot afford to drive women doctors away

Dr Trevor Pickersgill
Dr Trevor Pickersgill, committee chairman, warned if the NHS was unable to meet the needs of trainees, they would be likely to leave.

Doctors spend up to 15 years training full-time to become consultants and the majority of newly-qualified doctors are women, according to the BMA.

A tracking study showed that 37% of junior doctors wished to pursue flexible training but only 3% were currently doing so.

The reason that part-time employment is being refused is because of a change in funding arrangements for junior doctors' pay.

The committee claims the new pay deal for junior doctors has not been met with increased funding for flexible trainees.

That means trusts are sometimes paying two or three times as much in flexible trainee salaries as they did under the old system.

Opportunities

Dr Pickersgill said: "As more and more women enter the medical profession, there will be a growing demand for flexible training opportunities and part-time working.

"Although male doctors also want a more civilised balance between work and home life, 95% of current flexible trainees are women."

He added: "If the NHS cannot meet their needs, we risk losing them to medicine.

"Given the pressures on the NHS and the desire to treat more patients, more promptly, we simply cannot afford to drive women doctors away."

"Most flexible trainees work at least 40 hours per week - a full-time job for any other profession and the NHS must accommodate."

The committee has written to the health spokesmen of the three main parties as well as the Minister for Women outlining the difficulties faced by trainee doctors.

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04 Oct 00 | Health
Tories 'outrage women doctors'
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