DR MAX PEMBERTON: We need more female doctors in the NHS… but there is a downside

Does the gender of your doctor matter? In general I would say it shouldn’t really make a difference, although there are times, for example during intimate exams, where it might be taken into account.

That said, I was fascinated by the results of a study conducted by UCLA and published in the journal Annals Of Internal Medicine, which found that the mortality rate of patients treated by female doctors was lower than that of those treated by male doctors.

The researchers who conducted the study were at a loss to explain their findings, although they suggested it may have been because male doctors underestimated the severity of a female patient’s illness.

I would tend to agree: there is no obvious biological explanation for this gender difference, so the answer must be psychological, based on the unconscious biases of male doctors.

Previous research has certainly shown that male doctors underestimate their female patients’ pain levels, gastrointestinal and cardiovascular symptoms, and stroke risk. So this seems a reasonable conclusion.

The UK, US, Canada, Europe and Japan have seen a shift in the number of women entering the medical profession.

It is also possible that some women feel more comfortable describing their symptoms to a female doctor, meaning they may receive more appropriate care tailored to their needs.

Fortunately, more and more women are entering the medical profession – and the days of being considered “unsuitable” and lacking the mental and physical stamina needed for this work are over.

This was especially true for women who wanted children.

When I was in medical school, I remember one of my old professors telling me that she was one of only three women during her entire year of medical school in the 1950s, when the Women were often ignored when raising their hands in seminars and tolerated. the best.

The idea that as a woman you could pursue a career in anything other than family medicine or pediatrics was very frowned upon.

Those who managed to become doctors had to be tough as old boots to survive in such a hostile and sexist world.

How times have changed! When I was in medical school 25 years ago, it was the first year there was an equal gender split. Some medical schools now have 80 percent female medical students, which is an astonishing change.

Of course, it’s a good thing that more women are entering the medical profession, but shouldn’t we be thinking about what this means for our healthcare landscape in the future?

Currently, just over half of licensed doctors are men. As more women enter the profession, we may well see an increase in the number of doctors working part-time.

Thirty-eight percent of female consultants work part-time, compared to five percent of male consultant doctors. Two thirds of general practitioners are women, a high proportion of whom opt for part-time work.

We should see a corresponding increase in the number of places in medical schools to account for this, but we are not.

Although the number of places in medical schools has increased slightly in recent years, this is only to meet increased staffing needs under the current model, not to enable a larger portion of the workforce working part-time in the future.

This problem is not unique to the UK: the US, Canada, Europe and Japan have seen changes in the number of women entering the medical profession, have struggled to plan for work to part-time and therefore had problems with staff shortages. doctors. The problem is already affecting both hospitals and primary care.

Thank goodness we have moved on from that horrible, sexist era where female doctors were a minority and ostracized in the profession – especially if women get better results from female doctors.

But we must account for the change in gender parity – and the resulting increase in part-time work – by attracting more students and doctors, or we face a medical workforce disaster .

The number of people on the transplant waiting list is at its highest level in a decade, but the number of organ donors has yet to recover from the pandemic. When I worked in a liver unit, I saw so many people in desperate need of a transplant. I can think of nothing more wonderful than leaving the gift of life when you die.

I saw the truth behind Baby Reindeer

Have you seen Baby Reindeer on Netflix? I was hooked.

The drama is an autobiographical story written by Richard Gadd (who plays the lead role, Donny), detailing his experiences with harassment as a man in his 20s. Starring Jessica Gunning, who gives a convincing performance as stalker Martha, it’s captivating and surprisingly funny.

Jessica Gunning plays stalker Martha and Richard Gadd stars as Donny in the Netflix hit Baby Reindeer

Jessica Gunning plays stalker Martha and Richard Gadd stars as Donny in the Netflix hit Baby Reindeer

As someone who has worked with a number of victims of stalking, as well as people who have been stalkers, I found this to provide a nuanced and insightful view of the complex psychology of how this situation can evolve, while describing ambiguity and uncertainty. the victim feels. It also gives a comprehensive and heartbreaking insight into how an obsession begins with misreading the signs.

This is one of the most powerful and accurate depictions of the utter devastation and long-term effects that bullying can have on a victim that I have seen.

Nearly half of patients never or rarely consult the same general practitioner, according to a survey carried out for the Liberal Democrats, which clearly underlines a major change in medicine.

Over the years, doctors no longer know their patients and no longer establish trust. Increasingly, a visit to your GP means sitting in front of someone who barely looks up from their keyboard, reciting a list of symptoms, then walking away holding a prescription.

This terrible experience flies in the face of evidence that shows the extraordinary value of a good doctor-patient relationship. One thing I cherish about being a doctor is getting to know my patients, especially in the area of ​​mental health. Some of my patients have confided things to me that they have not shared with any other human being. This allowed me to help them better.

Dr. Max prescribes…

The Psychology of Memory by Dr. Megan Sumeracki and Dr. Althea Need Kaminske

Shortly before I sat down to write this, I lost my keys. For the second time today. Is this happening to you? If so, don’t worry. This doesn’t necessarily mean your memory is bad.

Our brains forget things on purpose so they can store other information, say the scientists who wrote this book, which also suggests ways to remember names and numbers.

The Psychology of Memory by Dr. Megan Sumeracki and Dr. Althea Need Kaminske

The Psychology of Memory by Dr. Megan Sumeracki and Dr. Althea Need Kaminske

News Source :
Gn Health

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