Editorials

Flexible training under the new deal

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.324.7346.1111 (Published 11 May 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:1111

Must be supported to retain women in medicine

  1. Melanie Davies (melanie.davies@uclh.org), flexible training adviser,
  2. Jenny Eaton (jenny.eaton@swndeanery.swest.nhs.uk), deputy postgraduate dean and chair of COPMeD flexible training working party
  1. Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, London NW1 4RG
  2. Frenchay Hospital, Bristol BS16 1LE

    Increasing numbers of women are qualifying in medicine—50% of house officers and more than half of medical school entrants are female. 1 2 Most of these doctors will marry and have children, and up to 70% would like to work part time at some stage of their careers.35

    Opportunities for part time training have improved vastly since the first scheme was launched in 1969, and the changing regulations have allowed the number of flexible trainees to increase to 1200 in 2001, which represents 7% of all specialist registrars. 1 6 7

    Part time training is not restricted to women with children—anyone with well founded reasons can apply—but they form by far the largest group.7 Forty three per cent of women doctors marry doctors.3 Even more than in other families where both partners have careers, doctors face particular problems of shift work, on-call commitments, and geographical mobility.

    If part time work were unavailable, the alternative for many of these women doctors would be to …

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