Gender and general practice: the single-handed woman General Practitioner

  • Barbara Lawrence

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    This research examines women GPs' careers, how they run their practices
    and how they reconcile professional and domestic lives. It looks at the
    particular experiences of women GPs who practise alone, and at the
    pressures in past practice experience which have led them to do so. It is
    argued that many of the problems of group practice which can be identified
    are attributable to gender. For example, one reason given for entering
    general practice is a desire to be able to provide the full range of medical
    care and not to specialise. Women GPs, however, may find themselves
    seeing more women patients for "women's problems" and children than they
    would freely choose. Women have not entered general practice in order to
    specialise in these areas of medicine. Indeed, if they had wanted to
    specialise in obstetrics, gynaecology or paediatrics they would have had
    difficulty advancing very far in these male-dominated areas of hospital
    Other gender related problems exist for women in general practice and
    practising single-handedly is one strategy that women GPs have used to
    counter the problems of working in male-dominated practices and
    partnerships. However, the twenty-four hour commitment of single-handed
    practice may bring further pressures in reconciling this with responsibility
    for home life. Out-of-hours cover, which can be viewed as the link
    between professional and domestic life, where the one intrudes into the
    other, is also examined in terms of the gender issues it raises. The
    interaction of gender and ethnicity is also considered for the 11 Asian
    women GPs in the study.
    Interviews were conducted with 29 single-handed women GPs in the
    Midlands. In addition, some cases were studied in greater depth by being
    observed in their surgeries and on home visits for a day each. A
    qualitative/feminist approach to analysis has been employed.

    Date of Award1987
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorDavid Podmore (Supervisor)


    • Gender
    • general practice
    • single-handed woman
    • General Practitioner

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