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Male GPs are far more likely to believe practising part-time has a negative impact on continuity of care than female colleagues.

One male GP in three said the issue was a problem compared with just 8 per cent of women GP respondents.

Dr Laurence Buckman, GPC deputy chair, said he spent three days a week away from his north London practice and therefore could not offer continuity.

He said: 'You can encourage people to come back and see you and work out-of-hours, but if you are away from the practice some days during the week there is no way you can offer true continuity of care.'

But Dr Nigel Watson, a GP in New Milton, Hampshire who spends three days a week doing work as chief executive of Wessex LMCs, disagreed. He said: 'Continuity becomes more of a problem if you are part-time but not unachievable.'

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