‘Breaking down monopolies in the medical profession’ – an interesting article just published by the Institute of Economic Affairs

The article:


I’ve just posted the following comment:

“The feminisation of the NHS over the past 30+ years deserves far more coverage in an article of this length. It costs some £250,000 – £500,000 to train a doctor, and 70% of medical students in the UK today are women. Compared with male doctors, female doctors are:

– more likely to quit the profession altogether

– more likely work part-time, whether or not they have children

– less likely to work in the most stressful disciplines e.g. A&E

– more likely to work in the least stressful disciplines e.g. general practise

– more likely to retire earlier

It’s been estimated that the NHS gets around half the number of working hours from the average female doctor over a working life, compared with the average male doctor. The inevitable collapse in the staffing capacity of the NHS has been ‘solved through recruiting a huge number of foreign doctors, many from poor countries which have paid for their training, and can ill afford their working abroad.

The bottom line? An ever more mediocre NHS run to suit women choosing work/life balance over work, and costing ever more for taxpayers to fund. The beneficiaries? A small number of women, many of whom wouldn’t have made it into medical schools on the grounds of merit. The losers? Patients (e.g. those unable to see a GP at the weekend) and taxpayers. By taxpayers we mean, of course, men mostly. Men pay 72% of the income tax collected in the UK, and women only 28%. As usual, men are funding both their own disadvantaging and the mediocrity of the public sector.

My political party may include in its 2015 general election manifesto a proposal that medical students be required to pay back the cost of their training once in work. With the average GP today earning £104,000 p.a. – outrageous remuneration given the hours GPs work, their job security, the absence of consequences for poor performance – paying back the cost of their training within a decade should be perfectly feasible.”


About Mike Buchanan

I'm a men's human rights advocate, writer, and publisher. My primary focus is leading the political party I launched in 2013, Justice for Men & Boys (and the women who love them). I still work actively on two campaigns I launched in early 2012, Campaign for Merit in Business and the Anti-Feminism League. In 2014 I launched The Alternative Sexism Project, aiming to raise public understanding that the sexism faced by men and boys has far more grievous consequences than the sexism faced by women and girls.
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  • The strain on the NHS is already far too much due to the part time working of female GPs. A couple of months ago there was a man from one of the patient’s groups on BBC Breakfast. He stated that women GPs generally worked 2 afternoons a week. I thought – that’s the last time he’ll be on the BBC.

    Due to the long training times for doctors, there is a natural lag on problems with female GPs & over the next few years, we will see lots and lots of people dying due to this problem. Yet no-one and certainly not our MPs are saying a word about it (couple notable exceptions).

    • Thanks. Anna Soubry MP spoke of ‘unintended consequences’ of driving up the proportion of female doctors in the NHS – although the consequences had been predicted 30+ years ago by Dr Vernon Coleman – then backtracked. Is there a single MP still telling the truth in this area? If so, I’d love to know his/her name!

  • herbkr

    Conservative MP Anne McIntosh, Minister for Health, claimed in the House of Commons that the proportion of women entering medicine is actually 70%, she is reported by the Daily Mail⁠1 as saying these women are, “… well-educated and well-qualified but when they go into practice, many marry and have children … and they then often want to work part-time.” She said that most of them will work only a few days a week once they qualify and as it costs the State almost £250,000 to train a doctor, this will place a disproportionate strain on the UK National Health Service.
    Predictably the feminist backlash was unleashed upon McIntosh, who is herself a single mother. Dr Clare Gerada, head of the Royal College of GPs accused her of causing, “… the biggest guilt trip of all when it comes to flexible working”, according to Melanie Phillips’s article in the Daily Mail on 9th June 2013 entitled “Part-Time Women Doctors ARE a Real Problem. Why is it sexist to say so?” Gerada expressed her incredulity, “that women doctors are being blamed for problems in the NHS”. Gerada, is of course something of a feminist Jack in the Box, popping up at every opportunity to defend the feminist position. In classic feminist fashion, all of a sudden, a serious economic issue for the people of Britain and, incidentally, a serious issue for the august and deeply respected Royal College of General Practitioners of which Gerada is the current head, becomes an attack on women and a guilt trip. Melanie Philips goes on to say:
    “In a Commons debate last week on the deficiencies of the new 111 emergency service, a Tory MP, Anne McIntosh, suggested one reason why there were too few GPs to answer urgent calls. Since some 70 per cent of medical students were now women, she said, the fact that many of them wanted to have children and then go part-time meant a ‘tremendous burden’ on the NHS if it effectively had to train two GPs to do the work of one. In reply the junior Health Minister Anna Soubry said: ‘You make a very important point when you talk about, rightly, the good number of women who are training to be doctors, but the unintended consequences . . .’ She didn’t actually finish her sentence, but left the thought of ‘the unintended consequences’ hanging in the air. For these three words, she was instantly jumped upon and metaphorically beaten up by a steady procession of angry women. Yet others heaped withering scorn upon the hapless Health Minister. Didn’t she understand that women had babies? So of course women doctors wanted to work part-time. Duh! And because it suited women to do so, there couldn’t possibly be any problem with that. It [part-time working] was obviously the perfect solution for absolutely everyone. End of argument. No awareness whatever of the total absence of logic in such claims — not to mention the failure to acknowledge the interests of anyone other than women doctors.”
    The whole issue of women doctors organising their lives for work/life balance is indisputable. I found this interesting little snippet entitled “Spotlight: The salaried GP”, to be found on the web site medicalprotection.org:
    Dr Linda Anne Jeffreys is a salaried GP in Yorkshire and a member of the sessional GPs subcommittee. She said: “One of the big pluses of working as a salaried GP is that it’s very flexible and you can dictate the hours. Your hours are circumscribed, you have approximate start and finish times and you don’t have to attend evening meetings. It’s a good way of getting back into work, as you spend more time seeing patients, so it can be a good choice if you are returning to work after being ill, or after having a child…
    Dr Beth McCarron-Nash is a GP in Cornwall, and has worked as both a partner and locum. Now working four clinical sessions a week, she was the first female UK GPC negotiator to be elected since 1991. “If you’re a GP the world is your oyster, and that’s what I love about it.”
    Yes, £250,000 invested by the taxpayer to train you and then you run the show the way you want. Working part-time as a general practitioner will pay between £30-45,000 per year, nice work if you can get it. Call me cynical if you like.

    1 Female doctors put NHS under ‘tremendous burden’ because they get married, have children and want to work part-time Sophie Borland and Matt Chorley MailOnline 5 June 2013