Do female doctors hurt physician productivity?

It’s a sensitive subject, previously broached by a Canadian magazine last year.

Now, to pour fuel onto the fire, a recent report finds that, in Canada at least, the growth of female physicians will cause a doctor shortage equivalent to 1,600 physicians over the next decade.

It’s a fact that female doctors work less clinical hours than their male counterparts. According to this article, “women, on average, provided 30 hours a week of direct patient care, compared to 35 from men, a result of female doctors – still burdened disproportionately with child rearing and other domestic tasks – doing less on-call work and being more likely to take leaves.”

But, as the deans of prominent Canadian medical schools have written, playing a “sexist blame game” isn’t productive.

The current generation of doctors, both men and women, place a significant priority on lifestyle, and that means less productivity across the board.

Knowing that the demand for medical care will only increase as the growing population ages, rather than singling out women doctors, why not simply produce more doctors to compensate for work-life balance that every physician deserves?