Abort67 - stop harassing women outside a London abortion clinic Petition

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We deplore the harassment and intimidation to which women attending some abortion clinics are subjected by antiabortion protestors.

Recently their tactics have become more agressive and as doctors we believe that women should be able to access all medical services including abortion consultations without having to run a gauntlet of people trying to influence there own private decisions. Privacy and confidentiality are basic tenets of medical practice and should be respected by all. Antiabortionists should confine their activies to lobbying decision makers and other legitimate forms of protest but should leave patients alone.

If you agree visit the petition website here.

The ban on smoking in cars with children

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MWF welcomes the news that MPs have voted in favour of legislation giving the health secretary powers to introduce a ban on smoking in cars with children. Read the publication of the 2010 RCP report, Passive smoking and children.

Every year, over 160,000 children are adversely affected by second-hand smoking, costing the NHS in England over £23 million. The introduction of a ban on smoking in cars with children will be a big step forward in protecting our children from the harm caused by passive smoking.


Less-than-full-time training and working

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With the increase in the number of women entering medicine, workforce planning will be crucial. Most women doctors are young and will have children (43% are under the age of 35). More part-time positions will be required.

Slot shares have become the preferred way of training part-time, but funding for super-numary posts will still be necessary, especially in smaller specialties. It should be accepted practice (i.e not at the discretion of local deaneries) for the parent of a child under the age of 3 to work less-than-full-time – either the mother, father or a combination of both – if he/she wishes.

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Female Genital Mutilation - Our position

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MWF is committed to the eradication of FGM*. MWF supports the UK Intercollegiate recommendations on FGM, produced in November 2013. These recommendations recognise the crucial role played by healthcare professionals in safeguarding girls and helping eradicate this practice in the UK. The key messages of the recommendations are that FGM should be treated as child abuse, the importance of data collection and data sharing between relevant agencies for effective action, and the need for professional care for girls and young women affected by this practice. MWF supports initiatives to meet the complex medical and psychological needs of women affected by FGM.

MWF urges its members to read these recommendations and work with colleagues to ensure that action plans are developed and implemented, and make a commitment to eradication of FGM in the UK.

In support of Fahma Mohamed's campaign to put education at the heart of tackling FGM, asking Michael Gove (Education Secretary) to meet with her and to put FGM on the school curriculum, we wrote to Michael Gove. Here is his response to us after meeting Fahma.

Background information:
* Female Genital Mutilation ( FGM ): all procedures involving removal of, or injury to, the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. it is practised mainly in 28 African countries , usually in childhood and often in unhygienic conditions and without anaesthetic. Due to migration of affected communities from countries such as Egypt, Ethiopia , Sudan and Somalia, an estimated 66,000 women in Uk are living with longterm consequences of FGM and 25,000 girls may be at risk.



Pregnancy and Maternity Leave

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Locum payments in general practice to cover a woman doctor during maternity leave, are at the discretion of the local Primary Care Trust (PCT). Several PCTs have decided to pay nothing at all towards these locum costs (which are considerable). This will deter practices from employing a woman doctor.

MWF is campaigning for a national agreement, so that locum payments are uniform across the UK and are not left to the discretion of PCTs (or their successor), to ensure that practices are not penalised for employing a woman doctor. Women in hospital medicine should not have to continue night shifts beyond 28 weeks pregnancy, unless they wish to do so. However, they should be prepared to continue other on-call duties, such as weekends and Public Holidays, so that the extra burden does not fall on their colleagues. Ideally pregnancy should be cost-neutral to each general practice and Hospital Trust, and work-load neutral to colleagues.

A big problem at present in hospital medicine is that when a woman junior doctor or consultant goes on maternity leave, a suitable locum cannot be found (or the Trust does not wish to employ one for reasons of cost). Locum cover then falls on the remaining doctors, often for no extra pay, leading to resentment and sometimes victimization of the absent doctor. A possible solution is a centrally held 'Parental budget' to which Hospital Trusts and PCTs can apply, to cover the locum costs.

More information

Medical Women's Federation
Tavistock House North,
Tavistock Square, London,
Tel: 020 7387 7765