A medical clinic has been accused of discrimination for charging patients more to see a female GP.
Social media users say charging patients more to see a female General Practitioner than a male General Practitioner is sex discrimination.
However, a female GP today defended the controversial pricing policy.
She argues women doctors don’t earn as much as their male counterparts.
Clinic accused of discrimination
According to The Age, the outrage began when visitors to the Myhealth North Eltham clinic saw a sign outlining different fees for female and male doctors.
The sign stated that a standard consultation with a female doctor costs $82, compared with $75 to see a male doctor.
‘Women’s issues take longer’
A young receptionist told a patient the extra charge is because “women’s issues take longer”.
However, many say that’s discrimination because more women choose to see women doctors.
Therefore, women patients face disadvantage because of their gender.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has referred the matter to Victoria’s Health Complaints Commissioner for investigation.
A spokesperson said:
“Not only is this practice offensive, it is potentially discriminatory.”
Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennesey also expressed concern.
“Nobody should have to fork out more to see a doctor simply because they are a woman,” she said.
The Twittersphere erupted with outrage about the extra charge, with some calling it “gender discrimination”.
“It’s basically a gender tax & it’s discrimination,” Twitter user Amanda wrote.
Female GP defends the higher fee
But in an opinion piece for The Guardian, an unnamed female GP defended the additional charge.
She argues women doctors earn less than male doctors, and do more work.
“In Australia, on average, female GPs earn $11 less per hour than our male counterparts.
That is the equivalent of around $21,000 per year, and it is adjusted for the number of hours worked, before you say ‘but women only work part time’.
Evidence shows that female GPs see patients for longer each visit, and for more complex issues.
We are more likely to perform preventative care like screening testing each visit, and our care is independently proven to be more cost effective.”
Miles Heffernan, Director of Litigation at Discrimination Claims, says discrimination laws are clear.
“Sex discrimination happens when a person is treated less favourably based on their sex,” he said.
“However, in this case, it could be argued that the extra charge applies to all patients, both male and female, therefore there is no discrimination.
“Both male and female patients can choose if they want to pay the extra $7 to see a female doctor, or whether they use that medical clinic at all.”
Please call our team at Discrimination Claims today on
1800 437 825
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