Women doctors 'burden on NHS'
Women doctors place "a tremendous burden" on the NHS because they have children and want to work part-time, a Tory MP has declared.
Anne McIntosh made the remarks in a Commons debate and was told by Health minister Anna Soubry that she made "an important point" about the "unintended consequences” of the high number of female medical staff.
"When they go into practice and then in the normal course of events will marry and have children, they often want to go part-time and it is obviously a tremendous burden training what effectively might be two GPs working part-time where they are ladies. I think that is something that is going to put a huge burden on the health service," Ms McIntosh said.
Ms Soubry appeared receptive to the remarks, saying: "Could I just say very quickly you make a very important point when you talk about, rightly, the good number of women who are training to be doctors but the unintended consequences."
However Ms Soubry later clarified her comments, saying she "fully" supported women GPs.
"My comments were not intended to be derogatory and I was responding to a point made by another MP during the debate," she added.
The Prime Minister's spokesman this afternoon said David Cameron had full confidence in Ms Soubry, who had "explained the point she was seeking to make".
"It's not a question around gender its about the professionalism and dedication and passion people bring to the job and that's why we can be proud of the vast majority of doctors," he added.
But Dr Clare Gerada, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, hit out at the comments, telling PoliticsHome:
"Well - then I have the triple whammy - female and GP and mother. I must go and bow my head in shame. I cannot believe that women doctors are being blamed for problems in the NHS (so now, GPs, immigrants, nurses, women)."
A spokesman for the British Medical Association joined Ms Gerada in criticising Ms McIntosh's claims.
"This is a very outdated view of women in the modern workplace and that having a family or choosing to work flexibly should not be perceived as a negative career option, for women or men. The NHS needs to adapt its workforce planning to reflect the changing working patterns in society."
Shadow Public Health Minister Diane Abbott said the comments were "typical of the out-of-touch Tories".