IT is unacceptable to blame women doctors for staff shortages in certain specialties such as paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology ("Health board blames staff shortages on 'feminisation'", The Herald, November 9).

We have known for years that women make up the majority of medical students. The situation is particularly acute in Scotland, compared to the rest of the UK, because there are fewer "whole-time equivalent" doctors on training schemes, and health boards are reluctant to employ doctors to cover any gaps.

Women doctors are entitled to go on maternity leave and work part-time while their children are very young, and they should not be made the scapegoats for poor planning.

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Urgent action by the Government is required to prevent adverse effects on patient care.

Dr Clarissa Fabre,

Immediate Past President,

Medical Women's Federation,

Tavistock Square,

London.