From The Guardian article A female doctor says she is ‘deeply uncomfortable’ by the way the NHS treats her, and believes that her male colleagues may be treating her differently because they are not as experienced.
Dr Carol Coyle, a clinical fellow at the University of Southampton, said she feels like she has been ‘shorn of my humanity’ when it comes to gender-specific medical appointments.
She said: ‘I am deeply uncomfortable about the way that we treat women.
I don’t feel that there is much respect, I feel that it’s almost a double standard, that’s what bothers me.
I think that a lot of doctors, when they’re in charge, they think they’re above these things, they feel that they are above these people, that they know what they’re doing and they know exactly what they are doing.’
I feel that my gender is not something that they can really take for granted, that I am not competent to do certain things.
‘So I have a lot to feel out about and a lot that I don’t have a good answer to.’
Dr Coyle’s comments came in an interview with The Guardian in which she also talked about the impact of female patients being ‘scared of being seen’ and what it means for the NHS to treat them.
Dr Coyne said that when a female doctor is diagnosed with breast cancer, she is routinely seen by female colleagues.’
That is something I think most female doctors feel a bit uncomfortable about.’
The fear of seeing someone else is something that women feel, even if they have no intention of seeing the woman themselves, it can feel like you are somehow part of the problem.’
And I think it’s a real concern that if you don’t see a woman, they are going to think you are a woman who is not doing your job.
‘I think it can be really intimidating, and it’s really difficult to talk to women about it because I think they are afraid of it.’
In the article, Dr Coyle wrote: ‘The first time I was diagnosed with cancer I was told I had breast cancer and that I had a 20 per cent chance of survival.
‘The doctor was told that I would have a 20-year survival rate.
‘After this I had three mammograms, I had my hysterectomy, I lost my husband and then my partner.
‘It was the most depressing thing I’ve ever experienced.’
She continued: ‘My first experience of being treated as a woman was at the end of a very difficult period in my life.’
It was difficult, I felt a bit of a burden, I didn’t feel myself.
‘And then I saw the surgeon.
‘He looked at me and said: I’m going to have a CT scan and he’s going to take a look at your breasts and tell you whether they are cancerous or not.
‘This was a man.
‘What is the worst that can happen?
‘I was told: If I have cancer I will have to have surgery and I’m not going to get a scan.’
In response to Dr Coynes comments, the National Breast Foundation’s Chief Executive, Kate Whelan, said: ‘[Dr Cylne] is absolutely right that this issue is one that needs to be discussed in our community, and that’s why we have a campaign called Make the NHS Safe for Women.’
But the issue we need to be discussing is whether we are treating our own patients in the right way.’
This issue needs to stop being about male patients.’
We need to start treating our patients as women, and we need a society that accepts that.’
Kate’S campaign is calling for a gender pay gap that does not exclude women.