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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Gender sensitivity among general practitioners: Results of a training programme

Halime H Celik1*, Ineke I Klinge1, Trudy T van der Weijden2, Guy GAM Widdershoven1 and Toine ALM Lagro-Janssen3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Health, Ethics and Society, School for Public Health and Primary Care (CAPHRI), Faculty of Health Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, The Netherlands

2 Department of General Practice/Centre for Quality of Care Research, School for Public Health and Primary Care (CAPHRI), Faculty of Health Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, The Netherlands

3 Women's Studies Medical Sciences/General Practice, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands

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BMC Medical Education 2008, 8:36  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-8-36

Published: 26 June 2008



Gender differences contribute to patients' health and illness. However in current healthcare practices attention to gender differences is still underdeveloped. Recognizing these differences and taking them into account can improve the quality of care. In this study we aimed to investigate whether GPs' gender sensitivity can be stimulated by a training programme. The focus was on three diseases: angina pectoris, depression and urinary incontinence.


This study had a quantitative, explorative and descriptive design. By means of a training programme 18 GPs were trained to focus on gender-sensitive recommendations for the three diseases. With standardised registration forms, data were collected during a 6-month period. During the registration period, the GPs were visited by the study team to discuss the process of data collection.


The GPs filled in registration forms for 100 patients: 39 with angina pectoris (31 women and 8 men), 40 with depression (26 women and 14 men), and 21 with urinary incontinence (20 women and 1 man). The results show that gender sensitivity can be stimulated among trained professionals. The combination of the training programme, clear and practical recommendations, daily discussion of relevant cases between the GP couples, feedback and support during registration by the study team probably contributed to the outcome.


GPs' gender sensitivity was stimulated by the training programme and the supporting visits. Ideally, structural attention could be realised by embedding gender issues in existing organisational structures of general practices.