International Women’s Day was celebrated this week to promote gender equality.
It is an important opportunity to reflect on the issues that female junior doctors and doctors-in-training face. One of the most significant concerns is the lack of a viable paid parental leave scheme for GPs in training.
We know that for some women, the lack of a viable parental leave scheme can be a real barrier to choosing a career as a GP; for others it can mean delaying entry into the profession, putting parenthood on-hold or returning to work sooner from unpaid maternity leave.
It is one of the many issues women must consider when they are finishing their hospital-based training and choosing a speciality.
GPRA supports progressing parental leave provisions as a priority and first step towards reforming GP training employment arrangements. We have made several approaches and formal submissions to the Federal Government on this matter in the past two years, and we will continue to advocate that GPs in training should have access to a parental leave scheme.
A profession that recognises work-family balance will attract more doctors to the general practice speciality and will help address the ongoing decline in GP numbers, especially in rural and regional Australia.
We support a scheme that is portable and provides parity with parental leave provisions available to registrars in other vocational specialty training programs.
While the focus is on women this week, we acknowledge the importance of including provisions for fathers, trans and gender diverse parents too. We support a progressive model that meets the needs of all GP registrars who have parental responsibilities.
I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your support.
Dr Antony Bolton
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