Medical alliance puts spotlight on shortage of gynecologists


TAIPEI — A medical alliance from central Taiwan’s Changhua County urged the government yesterday to do more to address the shortage of doctors in the gynecologist profession, which often involves high risks and long hours on the job.

Doctors are becoming more unwilling to work in the gynecology department because of the risk of facing lawsuits and the high pressure associated with the profession, said doctors from the Changhua Medical Alliance for Public Affairs at a press conference at the Legislative Yuan.

According to statistics compiled by the Taiwan Association of Obstetrics and Gynecology between 2000 and 2010, the average age of Taiwanese gynecologists is 54 years old, said Yeh Guang-peng, a gynecologist at Changhua Christian Hospital.

The aging gynecologist population indicates young doctors are not keen to enter the profession, the doctor said.

Moreover, he added, 60.59 percent of the 368 townships surveyed nationwide in 2011 did not even have gynecologists on hand to help deliver babies.

In addition, the number of medical students specializing in gynecology dropped by 28 percent from 2000 to 2,179 in 2010, Yeh said, citing statistics he had compiled himself for the same 11-year period. One factor contributing to the decline of gynecologists is the fact that doctors are often on standby for 24 hours to assist in the delivery of babies, Yeh said.

Wu Jung-liang, another gynecologist at Changhua Christian Hospital, echoed Yeh’s opinions.