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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Sick pay and the salaried GP

Improved childcare support and more flexible working hours would most improve the position of women in the profession, GPs believe.

More than 60 per cent of respondents picked the two as the most important changes.

Almost as many GPs (56 per cent) picked full maternity locum reimbursement as a factor that would help women GPs.

The issues were highlighted equally by male and female GPs.

Dr Laurence Buckman, dep-uty chair of the GMC, said: 'All three of these things are deliverable. Two need money and one needs willpower.'

Dr Susan Laybourn, a GP in Leeds, said young women GPs in particular would benefit.

Other factors GPs thought would improve women's positions included training that fits in with working hours (35 per cent) and parity for part-time workers (32 per cent).

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