Editorials

The future of female doctors

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b2223 (Published 03 June 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b2223
  1. Graham Winyard, retired postgraduate dean
  1. 1Winchester, Hampshire SO23 9TE
  1. gwinyard{at}doctors.org.uk

    Women will have to adapt as they become the majority, and so will the NHS

    Women will form the majority of doctors in the NHS within 10 years. The suggestion by Professor Carol Black that the future of British medicine might be endangered by this feminisation of the medical workforce generated both media hyperbole and serious debate.1 2 By raising these issues directly, Prof Black crystallised a range of professional concerns and made it legitimate to discuss fears and perspectives that might otherwise have been dismissed as politically incorrect, or worse.

    Women and medicine: the future, the reports published this week by the Royal College of Physicians, tackle these issues head on. The summary report3 is based on a major and meticulously referenced study4 by Dr Mary Ann Elston that provides a sturdy foundation for the future work that is recommended. Most readers will opt to read the shorter version, but the full report contains fascinating new perspectives from other professions and other countries.

    The report easily puts to rest some false but widely held …

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