Irish Medical Organisation

New IMO President calls for action to increase the number of women in senior medical posts

“Equal numbers of men and women qualify as doctors but only 29% of hospital consultants are women.”

Friday 1st April 2016.  The new President of the Irish Medical Organisation, Dr. John Duddy, has calls on the HSE to take urgent action to tackle the low number of female doctors and consultants at senior levels in the health services.  Dr. Duddy was speaking as he took office as the new President of the IMO at the organisation’s AGM in Sligo today.
Dr. Duddy, a neurosurgical specialist registrar practicing in Beaumont Hospital, said that the low number of women in senior medical posts was a key structural weakness in the Irish health services.
He said; “from a gender perspective, there has been enormous change in the health services over the past 50 years with increasing numbers of women qualifying as doctors but that is not being reflected at senior levels because so few women are progressing through to senior positions.”
Dr. Duddy said that figures from the Medical Council showed that while there was little difference between the numbers of women and men qualifying from medical school, women account for just 29% of Hospital Consultants and significantly less in certain specialities.
Dr. Duddy called for changes to medical training and to working hour regimes in order to make medical posts more attractive to female doctors; “Our current structures are antiquated and unsuitable and they reflect a traditionalist attitude that assumes participants are single-mindedly focused on their careers above all else.  These are key factors in discouraging women from progressing their careers.”
Dr. Duddy said it was significant that few of the women who participated on medical and surgical training schemes progressed to consultant level; “clearly the hours that are required and the nature of the training – including the requirement for people to travel extensively to work for relatively short periods in different locations are totally unsuited to anyone who is interested in starting a family or taking a career break to raise children.”

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