“Female docs hurt productivity” is on the front page of the National Post today.
Maclean’s featured a groundbreaking report about this issue in January 2008. Journalists Cathy Gulli and Kate Lunau examined how professional, personal and domestic demands create a perfect storm for many female physicians, who cope by working fewer hours, taking on fewer patients or leaving medicine altogether. They also reported on the premium care provided by many of these doctors, which has made them more sought-after by patients and, paradoxically, more overwhelmed and susceptible to burnout.
Leading experts called for various solutions such a increased medical school enrollment, Canadian accreditation of foreign medical schools, and benefit packages for physicians. No one blamed female doctors or recommended curbing their numbers.
Maclean’s was lambasted by a good number of medical workers, and even accused of sexism in an editorial published by the Canadian Medical Association Journal. In a new study, one of their own—Dr. Mark Baerlocher, a radiology resident at the University of Toronto—is saying the same thing as Maclean’s reported 17 months ago. Dr. Diane Kelsall, deputy editor, clinical practice at the CMAJ, calls it “a good study,” yet backs their editorial from last year, insisting the doctor shortage shouldn’t be seen as “a gender thing.”
Dr. Baerlocher makes an essential point: “You can’t simply ignore it because it’s a sensitive issue.”