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Equal opportunity for all? Trends in flexible training 1995-2001

Gray, Selena; Alexander, Kirsty; Eaton, Jennifer


Kirsty Alexander

Jennifer Eaton


This paper describes current patterns and trends in flexible training in the UK. It is a descriptive study based on (1) survey data on the number of flexible trainees from the annual survey of UK deaneries from 1995 to 2001; (2) Department of Health workforce figures on numbers of consultants and specialist registrars in England; (3) survey data from UK deaneries on the destination of those leaving flexible training schemes from 1999 to 2001. The absolute number and percentage of flexible SpRs in England increased from 389 (3.5%) in 1995 to 1067 (8.4%) in 2001. There is substantial variation by region, with only 4% of SpRs in Mersey being flexible compared with 11% in South Western and Oxford in 2000, and by speciality, with 2% in general surgery compared with 22% in psychiatry and 19% in paediatrics. There was a continued increase in the number and percentage of flexible SpRs over the period 1995-2001. The rate slowed in 2001 and fell in three regions, suggesting a possible adverse effect of the New Pay Deal for junior doctors. Substantial geographical and speciality inequities in access to flexible training appear to exist. If skills and talents of female doctors required to achieve the medical workforce needed in the future are to be retained, these issues need to be urgently addressed. © 2004 Taylor & Francis Ltd.


Gray, S., Alexander, K., & Eaton, J. (2004). Equal opportunity for all? Trends in flexible training 1995-2001. Medical Teacher, 26(3), 256-259.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date May 1, 2004
Journal Medical Teacher
Print ISSN 0142-159X
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Volume 26
Issue 3
Pages 256-259
Keywords equal opportunity, flexible training
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : Examines growth in and access to flexible (part-time) training for junior doctors in the UK. This area is of major significance for workforce planning given the increasing number of mature and female students. Led to invitation to present a keynote address at BMA's Women in Academic Medicine conference July 2007.