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At the heart of general practice since 1960

The Male Eunuch

Our blogger takes a sideways glance at the changing demographics of the medical profession.

Our blogger takes a sideways glance at the changing demographics of the medical profession.

In the machine room, at the very core of general practice, is the doctor-patient relationship.

A skilled GP encourages patients to share their stories, to participate in the decision making process and to become actively involved in their disease management. To achieve this, a GP has to be able to communicate well and these skills are developed at the earliest stages of training.

Professor Candid reflects on how communication skills have evolved over the years and how increasing numbers of female doctors are helping to change the face of modern medicine.

'All the research shows that communicating well with patients and empathising with them leads to better outcomes and improved patient satisfaction. But isn't all this communication stuff a bit girly?

'I like to think back to the 1950's when the ward doctor could stride out, plant his foot on the end of the bed, sweep back his mane of hair and spot diagnose a pancreatitis at thirty yards.

'My consultant's favourite expression was "Don't talk to me about the doctor-patient relationship, I know all about it, I'm the doctor and the other fella is the patient."

'How times have changed and unfortunately those heady days of spitfires and spiffing chaps are over. General heroism and risky medicine have been replaced with fluffy concern in a disturbingly busty landscape.'

He went on to explain that 'I now sit on the admissions board at Axminster medical school and last spring nearly 80% of the interviewees were female. This is an incredible turn of events. Women were once expected to be nice, neat, clean and freshly shaven, to follow orders and to be respectful, these are now all recognised to be the ideal qualities of a modern doctor. They even appear in the new GP curriculum.'

And astonishingly, a large cross sectional study recently published in the SMJ has shown that up to 50% of people are actually female and that the rest are probably male, although this has yet to be confirmed.

Prof explains that 'men may not actually make up the rest of the population, we've identified some deviants like Dale Winton and a singing castrato who goes by the name of Mika, but we're still not sure how to classify them.'

Prof Candid discusses how this situation has impacted on male medical students' academic performance 'Well the CSA is a case in point. Men tend to struggle a lot more than their female counterparts. And is it any wonder, men are just shit at talking and we've now got good video evidence to confirm this. In order to redress the balance I'm planning to introduce a new negatively marked MCQ which candidates have to answer with a blinding hangover.'

Prof explains that medicine still needs real men, like the geat Leonid Rogozov who removed his own appendix and Keith, a pessimistic cobbler from Argyll agrees 'I think it's a shame that men are dying out in medicine, what happens if I have a problem with my knob, I'm not seeing a girl about that.'

John, a scientifically verified man from Kidderminster says 'I can totally understand where Prof is coming from, in order to keep up my manly identity I have to throw white plastic chairs around my garden to some rousing music in order to simulate an embarrassing overseas football riot. Just last week I had to ask my wife to squirt a hose pipe at me and call me a b*stard.'

In defence of the inevitable feminisation of the profession, Sara a four year old from Chorleywood, who already has ambitions to become a surgeon says 'my cough was recurrently misdiagnosed by my GP and it wasn't until my over-bearing mother took me to the paediatric department that my Pertussis was finally unearthed by a friendly yet efficient lady doctor.

'I forgave my GP because he was always nice to me, pitched the information at just the right level and gave me a sticker. If he screws up one more time though I'm going to sue his ass, I might be small and without a full set of teeth but don't underestimate me, I can be a vindictive little f***ker.'

Dr De'ath from the Hebrides also sees the advantages of females working increasingly in the primary care setting 'If one of those harpies comes with lady pains or, dare I say it, irregular bleeding, I have to ask them to leave and never to darken my door again, I've got an underpaid female locum for that sort of sh*t.'

Professor Candid ended the interview by saying 'medical men have become male eunuchs and we don't yet have a 21st century Germaine Greer to point it out.'

Dr Kevin Hinkley is a GP in Aberdeen

Through the K hole

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