A study by the Royal College of Physicians finds that the number of female doctors will be more than that of male doctors within the next decade.
But the report cautioned that women were more likely to choose specialties that offer flexibility; thus sparking shortages in fields like obstetrics and gynaecology, emergency medicine and surgery. "Across the NHS, 43 per cent of all women doctors are under the age of 35, so many will not yet have started families," the report said.
The issue of part-time contracts was also addressed in the report. Currently eight per cent of men and 21 per cent of women are on part-time contracts. The report said it was not lear if male doctors would also choose to be on part-time contracts, "The higher the proportion of part-time and flexible working, the more challenging it will be," it added.
Professor Jane Dacre, chair of the committee that produced the report said, "Understanding now that women doctors tend to favour more flexible working patterns and certain specialties will enable the Government and NHS to secure and maintain the high standard of UK doctors."
The study also said that in contrast to their increasing numbers in hospitals, very few women were medical directors in the NHS.