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Recommendations to help women doctors

Report outlines key changes needed to improve the future careers of female doctors

Improved access to childcare, part-time training and better career guidance have been outlined as key to improve the future careers of female doctors, in a report published today.

The National Working Group on Women in Medicine's report, 'Women Doctors: Making a Difference', highlights current barriers that prevent women from reaching senior positions and leadership roles and sets out recommendations on how best to address these.

In his 2006 Annual Report, the Department of Health's chief medical officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, recommended that a working group should be established to look into these issues. The group's report is a direct response to the concern that, despite an increase in the number of females entering the profession over the last 20 years, few have reached senior leadership positions.

After consulting widely with stakeholders, male and female doctors and reviewing existing research on women in medicine, the group has recommended: improving access to mentoring and career advice; encouraging women in leadership; improving access to part-time working and flexible training; ensuring that the arrangements for revalidation are clear and explicit; women should be encouraged to apply for the Clinical Excellence Awards Scheme; ensuring that the medical workforce planning apparatus takes account of the increasing number of women in the profession; improving access to childcare and support for carers, plus identifying champions to help fulfil the recommendations.

Baroness Deech, the working group's chair, said: "There are now more women entering medical school than men. Our report looks at the obstacles to the full exercise of every doctor's potential - from the decision at school to study medicine, through training, work, maternity leave, childcare, progress through the profession to leadership, retirement and pensions - with special emphasis on the choices and problems that women face.

"Our report focuses very much on the implementation of change. In order to achieve continuity of patient care and the best use of every doctor, the reforms must be tackled."

14th October 2009

From: Healthcare

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