THE safety of female players is being put at risk due to rugby chiefs’ “shoestring” approach to healthcare in the game.

That is the view of Dr Nick Tait who is an experienced GP responsible for the health and welfare of Worcester Warriors’ squad.

Tait is club doctor for the Gallagher Premiership outfit but took on the additional responsibility for Worcester Warriors Women in the Tyrrells Premier 15s last season.

He is now calling for the same care and attention to be paid to top-flight female players as he believes there is currently “a massive discrepancy”.

While he admits great strides are being made in the pitch-side care available for the women’s squad, Tait says there is still some way to go before equality is achieved.

In the men’s game, each match has a doctor for both sides plus a third GP who will sit in should either of the other doctors have to treat a player away from pitch side.

For the women’s game, just one medical professional is present to deal with both sides.

“We are extremely keen to build the safety and professionalism of the women’s game,” Tait said.

“At the moment, there is a massive discrepancy in how the players in the women’s game are looked after compared with the men.

“It is healthcare on a shoestring.

“In some ways you can argue the risk is greater in the women’s game.

“The players are just as able but mistakes do happen and there can be less control.”

Tait splits his working week between Warriors, his NHS responsibilities and private doctors’ group TFJ Private GP Services, based at the Nuffield Hospital in Leamington.

He also works as an instructor on the RFU’s immediate care in sport course, a rugby union-specific training qualification for healthcare professionals working in sport.

He says this is one area where progress has been made in the women’s game.

“Until last year women’s games required a healthcare professional trained to RFU level two status which is the accreditation required in the amateur game,” Dr Tait said.

“They are now required to be qualified to RFU level three status — the same accreditation required to work in professional men’s rugby. This is an important step.

“Looking ahead, it is a case of pushing the RFU for better training and care and continually making the case as to why this is so important.”

The Tyrrells Premier 15s’ minimum medical standards include an RFU-qualified healthcare practitioner being at all training sessions and matches.

A second doctor is currently recommended by the RFU but two will be mandatory from the 2020-21 season.

If no doctor is sourced that fixture will be cancelled and the offending home club will face a sanction.

There should also be at least one ambulance staffed with paramedics at all matches while each club is expected to have a range of specified medical trauma equipment including a cardiac defibrillator and an emergency drug box.

An RFU spokeswoman said: “There are audited minimum medical standards for the Tyrrells Premier 15s which cover a range of areas.

“These standards are bespoke to the specific requirements of the competition which is entering its third season this year and are scaled to improve year by year.”

For more information on TFJ Private GP Services, call 01926 436303 or visit