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We need female doctors at all levels and in all specialties

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 04 April 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e2325
  1. Jane Dacre, professor of medical education, UCL Medical School, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University College London, London
  1. j.dacre{at}

Several reports in recent years have pointed out the increasing numbers of female doctors.1 This trend should now stop being a news item. The profession should adapt to its contemporary demographic, take pride in its gender balance, and make plans for more women at the top.

The NHS continues to struggle to provide the best quality service for its patients in a difficult financial climate. To support this quest, we need to make the best use of the entire medical workforce. The NHS Future Forum has acknowledged the under-representation of women in senior leadership positions and the need for appropriate development opportunities,2 without which we risk reducing the talent pool.

In medicine, we have been successful at supporting women to achieve consultant status. In 2009 the Royal College of Physicians published its report Women and Medicine: The Future. This comprehensive piece of research accurately collated the available data about the numbers of women in medicine. The findings supported the prediction that women will be in the majority in the medical workforce …

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