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We need GP maternity fund

Congratulations to Pulse for its investigation showing the postcode provision of locum payments made to practices when women go on maternity leave.

(Half of PCTs fail to reimburse GP maternity costs in full)

This situation is likely to get worse when PCTs are abolished and GP consortia are left holding the purse-strings. Pregnancy must be cost-neutral to the remaining partners when a woman doctor goes on maternity leave, as otherwise there will be a disincentive to appoint a woman doctor as a partner.

The Medical Women’s Federation recommends a nationally held ‘parental budget’, out of which these maternity locum payments could be made. This would abolish the current postcode lottery. We will push for this at a meeting in October at the Department of Health to follow up on the Women in Medicine report prepared for it.

From Dr Clarissa Fabre
Buxted, East Sussex
President, Medical Women’s Federation