More than half of female doctors sexually harrassed

MORE than half of Australia's female general practitioners have experienced sexual harassment from their patients, a study published in the latest Medical Journal of Australia reveals.

The Monash University study surveyed 600 female GPs, 180 of whom responded; showing more than 54% of those doctors surveyed had experienced sexual harassment.

Study co-author Dr Peter Bratuskins said the most common behaviour reported was a "request for an inappropriate examination", with about 64% of female doctors reporting getting such a request.

Other common forms of sexual harassment were inappropriate exposure of body parts at 55.7%, "gender-based remarks" at 43.3% and "touching or grabbing" at just over 30%.

About two-thirds of those who reported sexual harassment said they had changed their consulting style, including adopting a more formal manner during consultations.

Respondents also said other changes were made to avoid harassment, including altering or not performing examinations at 17% and keeping their personal lives private.

But only 6.7% of female doctors reported ever getting training to help avoid sexual harassment by patients.

Study authors recommended more formal training be created to help female doctors deal with harassment.

Top harassment complaints female doctors made of patients:

  • Request for inappropriate examination: 64.9%Inappropriate exposure of body parts: 55.7%
  • Gender-based remarks: 43.3%
  • Inappropriate gifts: 42.3%
  • Sexual remarks: 36.1%
  • Touching or grabbing: 30.9%

SOURCE: Medical Journal of Australia



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