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British doctors’ work–life balance and home-life satisfaction: a cross-sectional study
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  • Published on:
    Authors' response to Sex Discrepancies in Work Life Balance
    • Swati Parida, Ophthalmology ST2 Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust
    • Other Contributors:
      • Abdullah Aamir, Ophthalmology ST2
      • Jahangir Alom, A&E Doctor
      • Tania A Rufai, GP ST3
      • Sohaib R Rufai, NIHR Doctoral Fellow and ST4 in Ophthalmology

    Dear Editor,

    We read the rapid response from Dr Ravat titled “Sex Discrepancies in Work Life Balance” (3 January 2022), and thank them for their interest in this work. We shall address the points raised in turn.

    Firstly, this rapid response states that “the authors conclude by suggesting a follow-up study to examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on doctors’ reported work-life balance and home-life satisfaction.” This was merely a point made in the discussion. The main conclusion was that it is imperative that steps are taken to promote the wellbeing of doctors, as our study identifies a lack of work-life balance and identifies important barriers to this.[1]

    Secondly, this rapid response discusses the possibility of selection bias in surveys of this nature – this was already acknowledged in the limitations of the paper. The lead authors of this study worked extremely hard to conduct and publish this work in adverse circumstances, including the COVID-19 pandemic, and successfully achieved 417 responses representing a wide variety of demographics (i.e. sex, age, professional grade, region of the UK, relationship status). Other such studies may only involve 20 respondents, and still provide useful data. Through studying the responses of 417 doctors across the UK, the authors have identified important barriers to work-life balance and home-life satisfaction that should be addressed to improve recruitment and retention of the medical workforce.


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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.
  • Published on:
    Sex Discrepancies in Work Life Balance

    Dear Editor,

    The pandemic is known to have exacerbated the pre-existing sex inequalities amid healthcare workers. Prominent findings included the marked decline in female authored publications during the pandemic (1-3), concerns regarding the static pay gap (4) and higher levels of burnout for female frontline staff (5). Equal sex representation is difficult to achieve when the disproportionate strain on female trainees, often due to childcare burden, is regarded with relative apathy.

    Parida et al. explored the barriers to work-life balance and home-life satisfaction through a cross-sectional study of 417 survey responses from UK doctors (6). The majority of respondents were found to hold negative views regarding work-life balance and home-life satisfaction. Female doctors, in particular, were more likely to switch specialty, enter less-than-full-time training, and delay buying a home, or having children. The authors conclude by suggesting a follow-up study to examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on doctors’ reported work-life balance and home-life satisfaction. This would certainly be of great interest. However, it is important to consider the biases that manifest in survey-based study designs.

    Surveys were distributed amongst a Facebook group, 'The Consulting Room', comprised of 7031 members. The authors acknowledged the likely inflating effects of selection bias, 'the inherent nature of a survey predisposes to respondents be...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.