Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Head To Head

Are there too many female medical graduates? No

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 03 April 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:749

Rapid Response:

'Are there ever enough women?'

As a 4th generation working female doctor I read with great interest the head to head article 'Are there too many female graduates?'.

I too have an anxiety in relation to work force planning with the predominantly female medical school graduates currently being produced.

I agree with the points made by both Brian and Jane!

Society - and I suspect biology - is unlikely to change the fact that woman will continue to carry the burden of caring for children and elderly relatives for the foreseeable future. As a result I feel we need to acknowledge that woman will often work less than full-time for some or all of their careers. Therefore, we need to accept that we need to train relatively more women than men to ensure that the ratio of doctors working reflects society.

Well motivated and well educated women doctors are an asset to the NHS and creating opportunities that can retain their service commitment is essential to avoid wasting huge resources spent on their training.

I feel frustrated and saddened by some female doctors who can give the impression that the NHS owes them a living and a good career - when they seem unable to see that that may involve some flexibility on their own part.

Let's hope that flexibility on all sides can be developed to ensure that a well balanced service can be offered, while accepting that society needs women doctors to be far more than just that.

Competing interests: None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

11 April 2008
Kirsty E Zealley
GP partner
Eastfield Medical Centre,Penicuik, EH26 9LX