(Patients' preference for male or female breast surgeons: questionnaire study)
Until recently the small numbers of female consultant surgeons in Britain have meant that patients have not had a choice about being treated by a male or female surgeon. However in a short report in this week's BMJ, Iona Reid from the University of Glasgow and Victoria Infirmary, Glasgow reports that up to one third of patients attending a specialist breast clinic would prefer to be treated by a woman. Patients explained their preference with phrases such as "women are easier to talk to" and "I feel less embarrassed with a woman".
Reid says that currently it would be impossible to meet these preferences given that only 2.3 per cent of consultants in general surgery and twelve per cent of registrars training in general surgery are women.
Iona Reid, Senior Lecturer in Surgery, University of Glasgow and Victoria Infirmary, Glasgow firstname.lastname@example.org