Investigations

Sydney hospital suspends obstetrician after comments about female doctors

Professor Hans Peter Dietz. Source: AIUMultrasoundYouTube

A major Sydney hospital has suspended an obstetrician after he made comments claiming female doctors made the profession "increasingly vulnerable".

Nepean hospital in Western Sydney has temporarily barred Dr Hans Peter Dietz from practising.

The suspension comes after a series of media reports regarding controversial comments he has made about women in the medical profession.

The remarks were made in an email chain to a NSW doctor's union leadership team and first published by SBS News in November.

Dr Dietz said the medical workforce is "increasing vulnerable - because it’s increasingly female and not exactly prepared for adversity because school and uni are ‘safe spaces' [sic]". 

Nepean hospital has temporarily barred Dr Hans Peter Dietz.
Nepean hospital has temporarily barred Dr Hans Peter Dietz.
AAP

“Suicides are one result. Inability to cope with everyday nastiness is another,” he wrote.

He also said in the emails that women were more likely to drop out, more likely to fall ill and more expensive to train.

The medical profession has widely condemned these comments and it has ignited a debate about gender bias and discrimination.

At the time, the president of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) Dr Vijay Roach refuted the remarks saying "the workplace only benefits from the full and equitable participation of women and any vulnerabilities requires attention to underlying systemic inequities".

Nepean hospital did not respond directly to questions from SBS News about why Dr Dietz was suspended from his position, on Thursday night.

In a statement, a spokesperson from the hospital said it  "does not tolerate any forms of harassment, discrimination or bullying" and "alleged incidents brought to our attention are investigated and appropriate action taken if any breaches of our code of conduct have been found to occur”.

The hospital also said that almost 74 per cent of its staff are female and they "are valued members of our clinical and professional teams”.

Dr Dietz has also recently resigned from the board of the Australasian Birth Trauma Association, which he co-founded in 2016. The organisation was established to "support women and their families who are suffering postnatally from physical and /or psychological trauma resulting from the birth process."

Dr  Dietz has been contacted for comment by SBS News. He did not respond to earlier requests for comment when SBS News first broke the story. 

Readers seeking support can contact Lifeline crisis support on 13 11 14, Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 and Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 (for young people aged 5 to 25). More information is available at Beyond Blue.org.au and lifeline.org.au

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