Female doctors ‘bad for medicine’

Rise in women GPs 'worrying' claims British doctor

The rise in the number of women doctors is ‘bad for medicine’, and schools should be trying to recruit more men says a leading British GP.

Dr McKinstry, who works in Scotland, claims women, who currently outnumber men in British medical schools three to two, may damage the profession as they’re more likely to work part-time, which could lead to staffing problems, and are less likely to take part in training and research.

‘I’m not meaning to be critical – women have a difficult time of it because they are left with the bulk of childcare,’ Dr McKinstry writes in the British Medical Journal.

‘But I think medical school numbers should reflect society generally and we need a more even split between men and women.’

However, his comments have been met with hostility in the medical world, with opponents insistent that medical candidates be chosen on merit rather than gender.

‘There is quite a developing evidence base that female doctors are not inferior to male doctors, but in fact are doing better in terms of getting into medical school and in their exams,’ Professor Jane Dacre, vice dean of biomedical sciences at University College London, told the BBC.

But does McKinstry have a point? Although women are still outnumbered in speciality areas such as surgery, they look set to dominate the GP world where many older full-time men are coming up to retirement age, leaving behind a young, female workforce, who often need to work part-time once they become mothers.

As McKinstry himself points out: ‘The main thing we need is a revolution in the attitude of society towards childcare and who has the responsibility for childcare.’

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