RESEARCH – November 2002

Opinions of Estonian gynaecologists and family doctors concerning the division of responsibility for management with women’s health


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Purpose: To investigate Estonian physicians’ opinions on their education and on the division of responsibility with regard to public health-care services for women. Method: In 2000, a questionnaire was sent to a random sample of gynaecologists and family physicians (FPs) (n=500, response rate 68%).Results: The responsibility for the treatment of climacteric symptoms (92% of all physicians), maternity welfare (87%) and treatment of venereal diseases (79%) was regarded as resting more with gynaecologists than with FPs. The treatment of cardiovascular diseases (98%), treatment of osteoporosis (96%) and early detection of breast cancer (92%) were regarded as being more the responsibility of FPs. As regards prevention of pregnancies, the gynaecologists’ and the FPs’ opinions diverged. The FPs reported that the responsibility for it rests equally with  them and with gynaecologists (79% and 73%, respectively). The gynaecologists in turn reported that the responsibility rests more often with them (83%) than with FPs (61%). Further, 42% of the gynaecologists and 25% of the FPs answered that the responsibility for the prevention of pregnancies also rests with midwifes.
The FPs considered the knowledge they had gained during their undergraduate or specialist education more useful for their current needs than did gynaecologists. The gynaecologists regarded the continuing education they had received as adequate somewhat more often than the FPs.
Conclusion: It might be possible that FPs and midwives could assume the responsibility for family planning to a greater extent than previously.