Male hospital consultants are more productive than their female colleagues, a new study suggests.
Scientists found women treat 165 fewer cases per year than men do in the most common departments such as general surgery, trauma, cardiology and paediatrics.
The survey by the Universities of York and Birmingham is published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine (JRSM).
Researchers logged the number of in-patients for 7,236 male and 1,048 female consultants, and found each male worker treated 909 patients on average per year, while female consultants treated just 744.
But Dr Kamran Abbasi, editor of the JRSM, denied that the data means men are better doctors than women.
“They do, however, highlight potential differences in the way medical careers develop for men and women in our health service,” he said.
“It will be fascinating to explore the underlying reasons for this difference in productivity. Does it mean less is more?”
Dr Karen Bloor, from the University of York, said more studies need to be carried out to identify why the gender differences occur.
“Whatever the cause, this is something the NHS needs to tackle and to take into account when planning services,” she said.
“The potential impact on efficiency and on patient care is enormous – particularly as more women than ever are entering the medical profession.”
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“Well, I mostly agree with the findings, even though it may not be entirely true and certainly unpalatable to the female group. However, it could be due to the ability of the male brain to perform tasks quicker and to make decisions, as it is historically evident through evolution. Nonetheless, it would be interesting to see the quality of care and patient experience from both these perspectives.” – Anonymous