The impact of feminisation on general practice
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Acta clinica Belgica. - Leuven, 1946 - 1997
, p. 5-10
University of Antwerp
For centuries the medical world was exclusively a male domain. This is gradually changing all over the world. The first part of the article provides figures demonstrating that the number of women in general practice has significantly increased. This part also provides the most recent figures for Belgium. The feminisation has an important impact on "service volume". Female physicians will produce fewer medical services than men. Moreover, whilst many young physicians in different European countries leave the profession after some time, this phenomenon is more prevalent among female than male general practitioners. In the second part the impact of feminisation at the qualitative level is considered from three points of view : at the level of care: are women changing primary health care? at the level of attitudes: do women have different interaction styles ? at the level of organisation: do women have an impact on the way medical practices/surgeries are organised ? We conclude that feminisation can play an important role in the shortage of general practitioners in the future. This is a serious problem because many countries have placed responsibility for primary care with general practitioners. For the qualitative aspects women contribute to the introduction of favourable developments in medicine. Finally a number of points of attention and recommendations are given in the framework of the faculties' "emancipatory potential" and for making sound policy in the men/women power planning for health governments.