POLITICS

Women Doctors 'Burden The NHS When They Have Families', Says Tory MP Anne McIntosh

05/06/2013 14:13 BST | Updated 05/06/2013 16:22 BST

A Tory MP has sparked a row after claiming female doctors are a drain on the NHS because they will end up having families and want to work part time.

Anne McIntosh, chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee, suggested on Tuesday that the NHS has to train twice as many female medics as they leave to have children.

She told a Westminster Hall debate on the 111 NHS advice line that "in the normal course of events" women who train as medical students will have families and want to work part time.

"It is obviously a tremendous burden training what effectively might be two GPs working part-time where they are ladies," she said.

"And I think that is something that is going to put a huge burden on the health service".

Health Minister Anna Soubry said McIntosh had made an important point about the "unintended consequences" of women who are training to be doctors.

But she was later forced to clarify her comments, saying that she "fully supports" female GPs and that her comments were "not intended to be derogatory".

McIntosh's comments angered doctors on social media, with Clare Gerada, the Chair of Royal College of General Practitioners saying it was unfair to suggest women doctors were responsible for problems with the NHS.

She said: "We need to make the system work for women - not blame them. Women leaders as well.

"I cannot believe that women doctors are being blamed for problems in #NHS (so now, GPs, immigrants, nurses, women)"

Dr Sarah Wollaston MP also said she disagreed with the comments.

She tweeted: "As a former job sharing GP who also managed teaching/training/examining/police surgeon/looking after 3 kids, I disagree with the 'Tosh"

Others said the comments were completely unfounded.