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Volume 655: debated on Monday 5 March 1962

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asked the Minister of Health what steps are being taken, in view of the present shortage of medical practitioners, to encourage married women doctors available for part-time work to enter the employment of the National Health Service.

I have recently brought this source of recruitment to the attention of hospital boards. Local health authorities are also aware of it.

Since the Minister made a serious error in endorsing the Willink Committee—which means that the shortage of doctors will be even more severe in seven or eight years than it is now—will he look at the matter again to see if it is possible to integrate some of these women into general practice as well as into the hospital service and elsewhere?

There is no reason why a married woman should not be taken on in certain areas as an assistant or partner in general practice, or, apart from the restricted areas, herself set up single-handed. I agree that married women doctors would be a welcome addition to our total doctor force.