Published Papers - Abstract 9

Bryson L & Warner-Smith P. Choice of GP: Who do young rural women prefer? Australian Journal of Rural Health, 1998; 6: 144-149

The demand for female medical practitioners by women in rural areas appears to be increasing and to be age related. However, the distribution of general practitioners in country Australia is heavily weighted to older men and access to a women's health centre also decreases with distance from the metropolitan areas. Data from the Australian Longitudinal Study of Women's Health indicate that young women are significantly more likely than middle-aged or older women to prefer to see a female doctor. It is argued here that it is the 'culture of practice' exhibited by female doctors that young women find attractive, rather than an essential appeal of the gender of the practitioner. The findings suggest that restricted access to female practitioners may affect health outcomes if young rural women are reluctant to seek medical services provided by male doctors practising in traditional modes.