Since 1988 there has been a steady increase in the percentage of women hospital medical staff in all the main grades. Their total number has risen by 72 per cent since 1988, to 20,210 in 1998.

Women account for 33 per cent of all hospital doctors, compared with 26 per cent in 1988. There has been a steady increase between 1988 and 1998 in the proportion of consultants who are female - from 14 per cent to 21 per cent of the total. Women doctors also represent increasing proportions in each of the training grades.

There have been substantial increases in women hospital medical consultants in most specialties. In six areas - paediatrics, accident and emergency, obstetrics and gynaecology, general medicine, clinical oncology and surgery - the number of women consultants has more than doubled in 10 years, albeit from a low base in some cases.

Source: Hospital, Public Health Medicine and Community Health Services Medical and Dental Staff in England: 1988-1998. Department of Health statistical bulletin 1999.