Background: Patient preference related to the gender of the treating doctor is a very sensitive topic. This study was aimed to assess whether Saudi patients prefer to be treated by a female or male surgeon or have no gender preference and evaluate the factors affecting their choices.
Methodology: A cross-sectional study was carried out through an online survey with 494 participants from the Saudi population in the Western region. The questionnaire included demographic data and questions such as If you need to have surgery, which surgeon gender will you prefer? They were also asked to choose the reasons for this answer depending on their chosen gender preference and about the type of medical care the participant prefers their choice to perform.
Results: Among the participants, 57.3% had no gender preference pertaining to the treating surgeon. For them, the most common reasons were Skill matters more than gender (91.6%), Educational qualifications matter (82.4%), and Experience matters (77.1%). There were significantly higher percentages of participants who were not employed, those who saw a male doctor more often and for more extended periods, and participants whose physician was not their choice compared to those who had no gender preference regarding their treating surgeon. A significantly higher percentage of male participants preferred to have a male surgeon. Conclusion: Over half of the participants had no gender preference regarding their treating surgeon. However, there is still a need to raise patient awareness on the importance of experience, skills, and educational qualifications.
Key words: Saudi, patients, prefer, surgeon, female, Western