Historically the domain of men, general practice will soon be almost 70% female, the national director for health and work has claimed.
Dame Carol Black caused a stir in 2004 when she suggested the profession was being undermined by a sex imbalance – a situation she believes has since been exacerbated.
The former head of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) also suggested the fact that a high proportion of women GPs – 48% according to a recent RCP study – worked on a part-time basis posed serious financial questions for the NHS.
"If we work part-time, it is more expensive. There's a lower lifetime return on initial training and investment and more organisational complexity and overhead costs," she said.
Regardless of these pressing issue, Dame Carol claimed it was important to move away from the idea of part-time GPs being any less skilled than their full-time counterparts.
"It's absolutely essential that we stop any idea that working part-time means you are not delivering a professional service – it's important that women have the widest reasonable choice of work options," she said.