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Original research
Women in gastroenterology: the UK trainee experience
  1. Sonika Sethi1,
  2. Aditi Kumar1,
  3. Jennifer Clough2,
  4. Srivathsan Ravindran3,
  5. Rebecca Harris4,
  6. Philip Harvey1,
  7. Suneil Raju5,
  8. Matthew James Brookes1,6,
  9. Charlotte S Rutter7,
  10. Helen Steed1,6
  1. 1 Department of Gastroenterology, The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, Wolverhampton, UK
  2. 2 Gastroenterology, Guys & St Thomas NHS Trust, London, UK
  3. 3 St Mark's Academic Institute, London, UK
  4. 4 NIHR Nottingham Digestive Diseases Biomedical Research Unit, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Nottingham, UK
  5. 5 Academic Unit of Gastroenterology, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield, UK
  6. 6 School of Medicine and Clinical Practice, Faculty of Sciences and Engineering, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, UK
  7. 7 Gastroenterology, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Aditi Kumar, Department of Gastroenterology, The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, Wolverhampton, UK; aditikumar{at}


Introduction Compared with other medical specialties, there are lower numbers of female trainees and lower rates of flexible working in gastroenterology. This study aims to examine the experience of male and female trainees to understand specialty demographics and the experience of training.

Methods Gastroenterology training data were obtained from the British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG) trainee surveys from 2014, 2018 and 2020, and from the Royal College of Physicians Medical Workforce unit between 2011 and 2019. Data on endoscopy measures from 2011 to 2021 were obtained from the Joint Advisory Group (JAG) on gastrointestinal endoscopy, including the JAG Endoscopy training system and the National Endoscopy Database. Data were segregated and compared by gender.

Results The percentage of female gastroenterology trainees remains at around 40%, largely unchanged over the previous decade. From the BSG trainee survey, 29.5% of women have flexible working patterns compared with 2.6% of men (p<0.001), which is lower than other medical specialties. Less than half of female trainees felt confident about their job prospects once they qualify. A greater proportion of male than female trainees achieved provisional colonoscopy certification during training (55% vs 45%, p=0.005) and female trainees took longer to certify than male trainees (63 months vs 56 months, p=0.004). The total length of training time from primary medical qualification to consultancy was the same for men and women.

Conclusion Changes must be addressed from a national and institutional level to address equitable access to national training programmes and equality of outcome for male and female trainees.

  • colonoscopy
  • endoscopic procedures
  • endoscopy

Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request.

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Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request.

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  • Twitter @sonika_sethi, @dr_dee_kumar, @Phil_Harvey1, @Charl0tteRutter

  • Contributors SS wrote the first draft of the manuscript. AK and JC developed the concept, analysed the results and made critical revisions of the manuscript. PH, SR, RH and SAR collated the data and helped analyse the results. MJB, CSR and HS were involved with critical revisions of the manuscript. All authors approved the final manuscript and AK and JC take equal ownership as guarantors of the study.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests AK and JC are trainee associate editors for MJB has received grants and travel expenses from Vifor International and Tillotts Pharma, outside of the submitted work. HS has received travel and conference expenses from Tillotts Pharma, Norgine, MSD, Abbvie and Janssen outside of the submitted work. CSR has received travel and conference expenses and course sponsorship from Norgine, Nutricia, Shire, Takeda, Astellas and Dr Falk outside of the submitted work

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.