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Men top GP working hours league table

Male GPs work longer hours than their female counterparts and longer than their equivalents in other professions, research reveals.

The study into GPs' workload also found doctors with larger personal lists, or lists with a higher proportion of older or nursing home patients, worked longer hours.

Overall, women GPs worked 12 hours less on average because of the large numbers choosing to work part-time due to family commitments.

But even full-time female GPs were found to work 6.4 hours less on average than their male counterparts and 1.5 hours fewer than women

in equivalent roles in other professions, the research in the February BJGP found.

The study by the York Centre for Health Economics found full-time male GPs worked an average of 49.6 hours a week.

Author Professor Hugh Gravelle, professor of health economics at the centre, said the most significant reason for the differences in working hours between male and female GPs overall was family commitments.

Having children under the age of 18 reduced the hours of both male and female GPs, but the negative effect was about twice as large for female GPs.

The probability of women working part-time also rose with the number of children under 18, whereas there was no such effect on male GPs.

Professor Gravelle said the results had major implications for workforce planning policies, given the proportion of female GPs was likely to increase over the coming years.

He said: 'Research on the reasons for this differential impact [of children on male and female GPs] could provide information on whether policies directed at childcare and practice working arrangements are likely to be an effective means of increasing labour supply.'

Dr Rebecca Viney, a sessional GP and associate dean at the London deanery, said the fact women may work fewer hours did not downgrade their role.

'Research demonstrates that women are more patient-centred and informative, are more likely to work with marginalised and vulnerable communities, and may increase emotional supportiveness and team working for both staff and patients.'

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