Doctor complaints hit record levels – men vs. women?

16 October 2012

It is, perhaps, inevitable that the press seize upon the apparent gender issues flowing from the General Medical Council’s data showing complaints about conduct of doctors hitting record levels. The Guardian reports “Most complaints – 73% - are about male doctors, the figures show even though only 57% of registered doctors are male.” 

I would interpret these findings in a slightly more positive light; that attitudes are changing and that the complaints are perhaps generated less by the gender of the doctors complained about than by them being more fixed in their attitudes than their younger colleagues. 

As a claimant clinical negligence lawyer, I welcome the public’s increased willingness to question the actions of all professionals. The GMC has a vital role to play in ensuring standards are upheld. The fact that most complaints are against male doctors over the age of 55 illustrate that attitudes in the profession are changing and younger doctors are responding more to the needs to patients. 

What is abundantly clear is that the junior doctors will need all of the communication skills and patient facing skills in their armoury to assist the public through huge changes and swathing cuts in the NHS.

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