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Women doctors: making a difference - report of the Chair of the National Working Group on Women in Medicine

  • Document type:
  • Author:
    Baroness Deech
  • Published date:
    13 October 2009
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In a chapter of his 2006 Annual Report, the Chief Medical Officer considered the implications of the recent increase in the number of women entering medical school, a figure that has risen from 492 in 1960/61 to 4,583 in 2008/09. Among other effects, this has created demand for improved flexibility of working hours, meant changes to career expectations and led to new challenges for workforce planning.

Despite this large increase in the number of women entering medical school, there remains an under-representation of women in senior grades of the medical profession. Whilst women account for between 44% and 59% of the workforce at other grades, at consultant level they still account for only 28%. 

In August 2008, the Chief Medical Officer asked Baroness Ruth Deech to chair a National Working Group on Women in Medicine to consider the opportunities available to women working in the medical profession.

The working group met over the course of one year, and collected oral evidence from representatives of professional organisations. These included:

  • British Medical Association
  • The Postgraduate and Medical Education Training Board
  • The Royal College of General Practitioners
  • Advisory Committee on Clinical Excellence Awards

Their report considers the current situation, reviews existing work and recommends a programme of action to improve opportunities for women in medicine.

April 2010:
Figures 1 to 7 have been amended. These changes have not affected the content of the report.

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