There is no denying that the NHS is under pressure. Who can forget the red alert meltdown in January? But while most people argue it’s the lack of funding or mismanagement to blame, one group of UKIP councillors think it’s women. But not just any women. It’s those women who have babies – yes, they’re the real problem.
The UKIP councillors made their statement about women in a leaflet distributed to homes around the Chard area in Somerset. Councillors Nigel Pearson and Peter Heather are both standing for the local council elections in May in Chard North and Chard South. The leaflet was being used as a piece of propaganda for their campaigns. The leaflet claims:
Positive discrimination in favour of woman has resulted in 75% of all doctors in training being women. Women take career breaks to have a family and tend to only work part time when they return to the surgery. How many female doctors are there in your surgery working two or three days a week? Do we need female doctors? Of course we do, but not so many that they create the sort of problems the NHS is facing now.
It is a problem as far as I am concerned and Nigel Pearson wrote the leaflet with me so he agrees. If you look at my doctors surgery, for example, there are more female doctors than male doctors. There is only one male doctor I think… You need two female doctors for every one male doctor you would need because they are all working part-time.
He also added: “The leaflet has gone back to the party and they fully support it.” But a national party spokesperson told BuzzFeed:
It is clear that this individual is not speaking for UKIP as a whole but for themselves. Fortunately this rather eccentric view is not held as party policy.
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In 2014, the Daily Mail ran an article about the rise of women doctors. It was written by a female NHS surgeon who stated the rise of female doctors was a worrying trend because many female doctors end up working part time. This meant more female doctors were needed to fulfil the role of one male doctor.
In 2015, the General Medical Council released a report stating that female GPs were to dominate the profession for the first time. Of the report, Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the General Medical Council, said:
The fact that medicine is becoming a more balanced workforce with women moving into all branches of the profession should be a cause of celebration… We do however need to be honest and admit that employers have struggled to cope with doctors as they juggle the demands of their career and personal responsibilities.
Unfortunately it is all too clear that women are still often discriminated against in the workplace because of motherhood. And the fact that these two councillors were shaming women and using them as a scapegoat for their propaganda only exacerbates the problem.
– Find out more about our doctors through the General Medical Council
– Take action with Keep Our NHS Public.
Featured image via Creative Commons
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