Women in some parts of England may find themselves struggling to find a practice with a female doctor, according to an analysis.
NHS officials say the number of these all-male practices has fallen significantly. A new analysis suggests that 9% of practices – 614 in England – do not have women GPs. Another 300 practices do not have male doctors.
The data is based on employment numbers from NHS Digital and may not reflect the use of locum GPs.
According to analysis by The Times, the all-male practices have 2.7 million patients, nearly half of them women.
Overall women outnumber men by more than 5,000 in general practice but in areas such as Hull and East Lincolnshire barely a third of GPs are female, researchers found.
The national director for primary care, Nikki Kanani, said: “The number of practices with no woman GP has dropped by a third in recent years to fewer than one in ten.
“Over half of family doctors are now female and three in five of the record 16 000 people training to be a GP are women which, combined with the large growth in female nurses, paramedics, physios, and other general practice staff, means it has never been easier to see a female clinician if you need to.”
Royal College of GP chair Professor Martin Marshall said: “Many practices are now operating under such pressure that they are simply unable to offer patients a choice over the GP they see. While having a choice of GP gender is desirable, patients should be reassured that all GPs are trained to the highest standards and the gender of their GP has no bearing on the quality of care they receive.”