Female GPs hit as returners' scheme cut

Female GPs may struggle to re-train after maternity leave as funding for returners' schemes is cut, the Medical Women's Federation has warned.

Dr Fiona Cornish, MWF president elect, said funding was being withdrawn from GP returners’ schemes as PCTs tried to save money.

She said PCT negotiations for the GP returners’ scheme are now completely open to discretion.

She said: ‘We are very concerned about this. I worry because we need all the women in the workforce. We can’t afford to lose them, it would be a totally wasted investment.’

Dr Cornish said funding cuts to the scheme mean GPs returning to work will have to foot the bill for re-training themselves.  She said this could cost GPs around £1,000.

She also said GP trainers within practices may no longer receive funding through the scheme, which could make practices reluctant to take GP returners on, she said.

Dr Cornish said: ‘If the returner was really good it would balance it [the investment] out.
‘But if someone needed massive supervision then it could be a disincentive for practices to take on GP returners.’

Dr Cornish said female GPs should not take more than a year maternity leave or a career break if they want to avoid these issues.

The loss of returners schemes is a further blow to female GPs after reports that many PCTs are cutting maternity pay to hit savings targets.

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