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BMC Health Serv Res. 2006 May 10;6:56.

The feminization of the medical work force, implications for Scottish primary care: a survey of Scottish general practitioners.

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Community Health Sciences: GP Section, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH8 9DX, UK.



The number of women working in general practice internationally has been steadily rising. In Scotland there have been concerns that such a change may lead to increased part-time working and subsequently to a fall in available general practice manpower despite an apparently rising overall number of general practitioners. However, there is very little information on the actual hours worked by men and women general practitioners or on the types of work they are undertaking.


Anonymous workload questionnaires of all Scottish general practitioner principals and non-principals


Response rates for general practice principals and non-principals were 67.2% and 65.2% respectively. Male principals spent on average 18% more time on general medical services (GMS) and 50% more time on non-GMS activities (such as teaching, specialist sessions, administration and research) than women (both p <0.01). This difference was similar for non-principals. In no age group did the hours worked by women doctors approach that of male doctors.


Women doctors in primary care in Scotland work fewer hours in all age groups than their male counterparts. The rapidly increasing proportion of women in general practice may lead to an increasing shortfall of medical availability in the future if current work patterns are maintained. Further longitudinal research is required to establish this and man-power planning is required now to address this. More worryingly auxiliary activities such as teaching and administrative duties are not being taken up by women. This may have serious implications for the future development of the specialty in Scotland.

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