70% of medical students today are women, and by 2017 more than half the doctors working in the NHS will be women. We’ve covered the negative impact of the feminisation of the NHS on patients and taxpayers before, but we thank M for pointing us to an interesting new piece in the Daily Mail:
The author of the article, Professor J Meirion Thomas, is a surgeon, and we’d guess him to be in his sixties. It was painful to read at the start of the article, ‘Although I am a feminist…’, but it’s worth pressing on. Some extracts:
…most female doctors end up working part-time – usually in general practice – and then retire early. As a result, it is necessary to train two female doctors so they can cover the same amount of work as one full-time colleague. Given that the cost of training a doctor is at least £500,000, are taxpayers getting the best return on their investment?
There is another important issue. Women in hospital medicine tend to avoid the more demanding specialities which require greater commitment, have more antisocial working hours and include responsibility for management…
In truth, general practice is organised for the convenience of doctors – particularly, I suspect, for female GPs – and not their patients…
No wonder many people, faced with a medical problem, ignore their local surgery and go straight to A&E – one reason why emergency medical services are at breaking point. The problems with A&E are very much in the public eye. Not so the issue of part-time working – but it certainly should be, as it is linked.
In the UK we have a serious shortage of medical school places, with the result that more than half of male applicants with the required grades are rejected. As we have seen, many women who take up medical school places subsequently work part-time and, on the whole, tend to avoid A&E. We make up the shortfall in medical manpower by importing about 40 per cent of the doctors we need. Most now come from austerity-stricken EU countries. Does this make economic sense? We need accurate data on the extent of part-time working in order to allow public debate which could then inform medical school selection. For my part, I believe medical school places should be given to those most likely to repay their debt to society.
The article ends disappointingly:
Last year the U.S. businesswoman Sheryl Sandberg published a book called Lean In. It should be compulsory reading for female medical students. Her thesis is that too few women make it to the top of any profession. She acknowledges the conflict between professional success and domestic fulfilment, but says women should commit more professionally and not ‘lean out’. How do we persuade female doctors to ‘lean in’? It is a question we urgently need to address.
Female doctors will never be persuaded to ‘lean in’. What’s in it for them? We return, as we so often do, to Catherine Hakim’s Preference Theory. Four in seven British men are ‘work-centred’, but only one in seven British women is. The denial of this simple and persistent reality is leading to ever more inefficient and ineffective public services, at ever higher cost to taxpayers. And of course men pay 72% of the income tax collected in the UK, which is funding all these social engineering exercises.