Our spineless political classes are no further forward than in 2013 in admitting the direct cause of the various crises engulfing the NHS – the relentless feminization of the service. Dr Vernon Coleman was writing about the risk of such crises in the 1970s, when the feminization apparently started, attributing them to female doctors in general not having the same dedication to their work that male doctors traditionally had. Female doctors are more likely than male doctors to:
- quit the profession altogether
- work part-time, whether or not they have children
- refuse to work unsocial hours, or carry out home visits, especially at night
- refuse to work in the more stressful and demanding environments e.g. A&E
- retire early
As Melanie Phillips points out, it is necessary to train two female doctors (£500,000) to deliver the same career output as from one male doctor (£250,000). The rational response would be to require all doctors to reimburse the state the cost of their training. Doctors’ remuneration is already wildly excessive, leading too many young people to seek a career in medicine for the income rather than for a vocation. The average GP earns well over £110,000 p.a.
Before long, the only people using GP services regularly will be those who cannot afford alternative options, such as Babylon Health (£4.99 pcm). I’m about to subscribe to the service myself. My (male) GP is outstanding, but the last time I wanted to make an appointment to see him, the earliest available appointment was two weeks away.