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Outdated GP maternity pay must change

The careers of women in medicine will never progress while outdated maternity leave allowances encourage discrimination.

I have worked with 10 female GPs over 15 years who've had seven babies between them, four within 12 months of joining the practice. The actual cost to the practice of each pregnancy was £30,000, as locum fees exceed maternity allowances.

This is without the administrative, financial, pastoral and educational roles lumped onto remaining partners, which no locum can undertake.

Women should campaign for:

  • maternity allowances that really reflect the cost of their absence
  • equal allowances - not based on status, such as partner or employee, or list size
  • allowances to be paid from 28 weeks until six months after the delivery date, removing the perverse incentive to work till you drop or go off sick, leaving the practice with unplanned absence.

And in the interests of equality, women who have children should reciprocate by granting their non-childbearing colleagues a six-month sabbatical every 10 years.

Dr John Orchard, Alfreton, Derbyshire

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