A Melbourne GP clinic has been accused of discrimination after a photo showing different fees charged for seeing female and male doctors was shared online.
On Wednesday, writer Maeve Marsden posted an image to Twitter of a sign in her friend’s doctors office – identified as Myhealth North Eltham.
“This is so f**ked,” she wrote. “My friend… goes to Eltham North Clinic in Victoria and they’ve just instituted extra fees for female doctors because ‘women’s issues take longer.’ Surely this is illegal?”
This is so fucked. My friend @TheMilkeWay goes to Eltham North Clinic in #Victoria and they’ve just instituted extra fees for female doctors because “women’s issues take longer.” Surely this is illegal? pic.twitter.com/Vwm0aafM1z
— Maeve Marsden (@maevemarsden) May 23, 2018
The fees specify that for both standard and extended consultations, it costs $7 more to see a female doctor.
Speaking to The Age, Marsden’s friend Laura, who attends the clinic, said she’d never seen the sign before. “I just think what a ridiculous policy to have in place,” she said.
When she asked the clinic’s receptionist about the sign, she was told the extra fee for female doctors was to account for the fact that “women’s issues take longer”.
When contacted by Mamamia about the fee structure at Myhealth North Eltham, a spokesperson for Minister of Health Greg Hunt said, “The Minister is deeply concerned.”
“Not only is this practice offensive, it is potentially discriminatory.
“The Minister has referred the matter to Victoria’s Health Complaints Commissioner for an urgent investigation.”
Speaking to The Age, Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessey also expressed her concern over the GP fees.
“Nobody should have to fork out more to see a doctor simply because they are a woman,” she said.
On Thursday afternoon, the clinic issued a statement about its fees on its website.
“At Myhealth North Etham, our priority is to provide the best medical care to all patients,” the statement reads.
“Each individual doctor sets their own consultation fees and standard appointment duration. The difference in consultation fees reflects the difference in the time allocated for a standard consultation with the doctor irrespective of patient profile.”
Myhealth North Eltham did not respond when contacted by Mamamia.