A medical clinic has been slammed over a policy to charge patients more to see a female GP.
Myhealth at North Eltham, in Melbourne's northeast, has been accused of discrimination over the sign that clearly states it costs $7 more for a standard consultation with a female GP than it does for a standard consultation with a male GP.
Because a large percentage of women prefer to see a female doctor, they are the ones stumping up the extra fee. The clinic reportedly charges the extra fee because "women's issues take longer", according to The Age.
Author Maeve Marsden, who shared the pricing structure on Twitter, wrote: "This is so f***ed. My friend goes to Eltham North Clinic in #Victoria and they've just instituted extra fees for female doctors because 'women's issues take longer'. Surely this is illegal ... if it's not illegal, it's still outrageously sexist".
Commenters shared her frustration.
"If you're asking people who are paid 30 per cent less to fill that 30 per cent wage gap, it doesn't help. It means even greater financial inequality for those at the bottom," one wrote.
"It's basically a gender tax and it's discrimination," another wrote. "They're reducing access to healthcare by increasing the price based on the gender of the physician. I'd contact the medical licensing board about this and/or make a human rights complaint."
The issue has been flagged with the Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt who, according to Fairfax, is calling for an urgent investigation.
"The Minister is deeply concerned. Not only is this practice offensive, it is potentially discriminatory," a spokeswoman for Mr Hunt said.
Victoria's Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner, Kristen Hilton, told The Guardian it is "against the law for doctors to treat someone unfavourably because of their gender ... This could include charging someone more to see a doctor because they are female.
"We know that some women need or prefer to see a female doctor. So, the practice of charging more to see a female doctor may be discriminatory."
The clinic has not responded to requests for comment.