RCGP fellowships remain dominated by men

Modesty is a factor holding many GPs back from nominating themselves to become RCGP fellows.

Dr Gerada: fellowship by nomination may need to be looked at again (Jason Heath Lancy)
Dr Gerada: fellowship by nomination may need to be looked at again (Jason Heath Lancy)

Men outnumber women among RCGP fellows by more than four to one.

Figures released by the college show that there are 499 women fellows, compared with 2,202 men. In some faculties the imbalance is even more acute.

With seven women and 62 men, women make up only 10 per cent of the fellows in the South East Thames faculty.

'This cannot be right,' said faculty chairman Dr James Heathcote. Dr Heathcote is pushing for two women to become fellows this year and 10 next year.

The South East Thames faculty is laying on 'buddies' for would-be female fellows and offering to circumvent the embarrassment of asking referees for support by approaching referees on candidates' behalf.

GPs who have worked for more than five years can nominate themselves, citing their achievements in clinical practice, patient-centred practice, leadership, teaching and education, innovation and creativity and academia and research.

RCGP chairman-elect Dr Clare Gerada told GP: 'People are very reluctant to self-nominate. It smacks of being arrogant and women especially find that difficult.'

Until 2006 new fellows were either nominated or assessed.

'Perhaps we should look again at fellowship by nomination,' Dr Gerada said.

Fellows and members pay the same membership fee but new fellows also pay a one-off fee of £620.

RCGP chairman Professor Steve Field said that GPs are often too 'modest to put themselves forward'.

The RCGP has fewer fellows than other medical colleges - around 11 per cent of members compared with 20 per cent for other colleges.

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