New research suggests “surgical sexism” is baked into the Canadian health-care system, revealing surgeons are paid less for procedures on female patients than they are for comparable surgeries on male patients.
The Toronto-based study, published in the Canadian Journal of Surgery earlier this month, found doctors are compensated on average 28 per cent less for operations on female patients than they are for similar procedures performed on male patients.
“The overarching message when we hear about studies like this is that society or the Ministry of Health doesn’t value women’s health to the degree that it should,” Dr. Andrea Simpson, an OB/GYN at St. Michael’s Hospital, told CTV News Toronto.
For the study, Sunnybrook Hospital OB/GYN Dr. Michael Chaikof said his research group created a list of common procedures performed exclusively on female patients and paired it with equivalent surgeries for patients with a male reproductive anatomy.
Then, they collected data on how much doctors were paid for these procedures in eight provinces and compared the lists.
The result: doctors performing surgeries on female patients made nearly $44 less per procedure than they did on male patients.
For example, a surgeon is paid over 50 per cent more for untwisting a testicle than for untwisting an ovary, despite the latter requiring a more technical internal procedure.
“There is nowhere in Canada where you earn more for operating on a female patient than a male patient,” Chaikof said.