According to the West Australian, several Perth women raised concerns after they were advised that their regular male GP no longer did Pap smears and they should see a female doctor at the same practice instead.
One woman said her clinic told her most female patients preferred to see a woman for intimate examinations, while other surgeries now opt to have a woman present when male doctors do gynaecological examinations.
However, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners believes this is a patient driven trend.
Bastian Seidel, the president of RACGP, told Mamamia that although male GPs are opting out of procedures, it’s only because the number of female GPs is on the rise, and more women are choosing to see them.
“Some female patients might feel more comfortable seeing a female GP for a Pap smear, and that means some male GPs, like myself, are just seeing less of these patients.”
Dr Seidel said that over time male GPs start to lose their skills in these areas and no longer feel comfortable performing certain procedures.
“I decided not to do IUDs anymore because I wasn’t doing them often enough,” he explained “I would do two a year and I started to lose my skills in that area.”
The RACGP believes that general practitioners are trained to practice in a gender neutral manner, meaning patients should feel comfortable seeing a doctor of any gender and vice versa.
Ultimately, however, it’s up to the patient to decide which doctor they want to see.
And now that the majority of general practitioners in Australia are female, more and more women are choosing to see them.
However, Dr Seidel believes a lot of older women still prefer to see a male GP, as they’ve been seeing a male GP all their lives.