Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Rapid Response:

Re: Doctor parents and childcare: the untold toll revealed

Dear Editor

This article addresses an important issue but is not an an objective overview of the problem and with its report on a self selected response group accompanied by personal stories it belonged in The Doctor magazine rather than the BMJ. Childcare has always been difficult and created financial, mental and emotional burdens. This burden falls mostly on women and, with an increasing number of women in a hard pressed workforce, the scale and significance of the issue for the NHS as a whole has increased. There is a serious question to be addressed as to the balance of responsibility between the individual and the employer. This is not just for doctors and if we are genuinely concerned about inequality, then we should be particularly focused on those on low incomes.

But whatever policies and resources we have in place, individual relationships in the workplace are crucial. Flexibility cannot be completely managed by regulation and there needs to be courtesy, respect and understanding accorded to those with childcare responsibilities and a reciprocal appreciation that time taken out for these responsibilities may have consequences for colleagues.

Paul van den Bosch

Competing interests: No competing interests

21 February 2024
Paul M van den Bosch
College Road Surgery, Woking