Women GPs take the lead in Scotland

Scotland has become the first UK country where female GPs dominate the workforce.

Dr Fabre: flexible and part-time training is available to women GPs
Dr Fabre: flexible and part-time training is available to women GPs

Women GPs have overtaken men in Scotland, workforce statistics now show.

According to November 2009 figures from the GP contractor database, females make up 50.7 per cent of the 4,941-strong workforce by headcount.

But while 80 per cent of male Scottish GPs work full-time at eight or more sessions a week, only 27 per cent of women do.

Women GPs in Scotland outnumber men in salaried posts. Out of 480 directly-employed GPs, 69 per cent are women.

In England, women make up 43 per cent of the GP workforce. In Wales, 39 per cent of the country's 1,940 GPs are women, and in Northern Ireland, 39 per cent are women.

The percentage of women GPs is rising in all four countries, but the number of female GPs has risen sharply in Scotland.

Between 2004 and 2009, the number of female GPs in Scotland rose 24 per cent, against a 0.2 per cent increase in men.

Dr Colette Maule, a GP in Wishaw, Lanarkshire and a member of GPC Scotland, said the increase in women is leading to more all-women practices, which can raise issues of patient choice.

'The big problem now is how women get training, which still tends to be whole time equivalent-centred,' she added.

But Dr Clarissa Fabre, a GP in Uckfield, Sussex, and president-elect of the Medical Women's Federation, said there are 'plenty of opportunities for flexible, part-time training in general practice'.

Dr Katie Maclaren, a GP locum in Perth and immediate past chair of the GPC's trainee subcommittee, said relaxation of the rule that training must be completed within seven years 'has been extremely helpful'.

Among GP trainees in Scotland, 65 per cent are women.

Female GPs

  •  50.7 per cent of GPs in Scotland are women.
  • 2,024 female GPs worked in Scotland in 2004.
  • By 2009 this figure had risen to 2,505 (a 24 per cent increase).
  • In England 43 per cent of GPs are women, in Wales 39 per cent and in Northern Ireland 39 per cent.

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