Why More Women Doctors Means Poorer Health Care

Dr Vernon Coleman MB ChB DSc FRSA

I spoke to three people recently who all said it took at least three weeks to get appointments with their doctors, though one said they could get an appointment with a trainee or a locum but that these stand-in doctors ‘never seem to know anything and never like to change anything prescribed for them by one of the principals’.

There are few doctors available these days because a majority of GPs are women who all want to work part time with no evenings, nights, weekends or bank holidays. This attitude doesn’t matter in banking or architecture but it does matter in medicine.

Many female GPs work only two or possibly three days a week. Some female doctors like to share jobs. One works half a week and the other works the other half of the week. This suits them very nicely. It means that they earn quite good money, have lots of time off and pay very little income tax.

Unfortunately, of course, it means that patient care is somewhere between terrible and awful. A patient has little chance of seeing the same doctor more than once.

And since the female doctors don’t like providing night time cover, or working at weekends or on bank holidays, the patients get a really rough deal.

This has been a problem for decades. When I was in practice over 30 years ago, it was well-known that some women doctors did not want to accept their full share of out of hours responsibility.

This was all the result of government policy years ago to increase the number of women doctors.

It has been a disaster not least because with women doctors working part-time, there is no continuity for patients.

Patients prefer to see the same doctor, and it is safer for them to do so.

Many patients find it harder to share confidential information with a doctor they don’t really know well enough to trust.

There is absolutely no doubt that the increase in the number of women doctors has resulted in a massive increase in patient morbidity and mortality – not because women doctors are poorer diagnosticians but because their personal working preferences disadvantage their patients.

Taken from The Games Afoot by Vernon Coleman – available as an ebook on Amazon.

Copyright Vernon Coleman 2018