Female GPs outnumber male counterparts
Female GPs have outnumbered male GPs for first time, according to official figures.
Data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre showed there were 20,440 women working as GPs in England as of last September, a 51 per cent rise since 2003.
Overall, the number of female GPs has risen 2.9 per cent (570) since 2012.
Meanwhile, the number of men working in general practice stood at 19,800 as of last September, a 2.9 per cent drop (599) since 2012.
Male GP numbers have decreased by 1.1 per cent (218) since 2003.
The HSCIC figures for men and women include both part-time and full-time NHS workers.
The size of the overall NHS workforce - including full-time and part-time employees - rose to 1.36m people in September 2013, up nearly 6,000 from the previous year, and up by more than 150,000 since 2003.
There were 36,294 GPs of both sexes working the equivalent of full-time as of last September, up 1.2 per cent from a year earlier, and up 20 per cent from 2003.
Maureen Baker, chairman of the Royal College of GPs, said: “The NHS is a real success story in terms of gender equality - and general practice should be congratulated for leading the way.
“It is encouraging to know that our profession is seen as a stimulating and progressive career option for both women and men as, ultimately, it is our patients who benefit from a diverse workforce.
“This is one area where we are streets ahead of the corporate world - yet today’s figures will undoubtedly be seized on as another excuse to criticise women GPs who work part-time.
“Any doctor who chooses general practice as a specialty is certainly not doing it for an easy ride, and it is ridiculous to suggest that their hard work and commitment to patients - or, indeed, their ambition - grinds to a halt once they have a family.
“Male GPs have families too and both men and women are now calling for flexible working patterns, career breaks, mentorship and return-to-work schemes.
“This is why the RCGP is looking at ways of overcoming the hurdles that currently prevent GPs who have had a career break or gone to work overseas from returning to the NHS and caring for patients.”