Doctors claim NHS has “come a long way” on gay acceptance

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The British Medical Association has claimed that attitudes towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans medical staff are improving.

It has produced a report which describes the experiences of LGBT doctors and medical students working in the NHS as part of LGBT History Month.

“The BMA recognises and honours the achievements of our LGBT doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals through this resource,” the report’s introduction states.

“The BMA is committed to equality and the elimination of unfair discrimination in all its forms.

“The Association will continue to support all doctors and promote equality and diversity within the medical profession.”

Co-chair of the BMA’s Equal Opportunities Committee (EOC), Dr Justin Varney, said:

“Societal attitudes towards homosexuality have changed over the years. There was a time when homosexuals were imprisoned as criminals and treated with electroshock therapy to ‘cure them of their disease’.

“The 2004 Gender Recognition Act was a major step forward and at last offers legal protection to homosexuals.

“Like the UK, the NHS has come a long way in recognising sexual and gender equality since it was founded in 1948.

” Many of the stories in the report show that LGBT doctors are out and proud at work and this is brilliant news, however, there are still accounts of discrimination which shows we still have a long way to go.”

Last month gay equality organisation Stonewall said parts of the NHS are openly homophobic.

At an NHS Employers equality and diversity conference Ben Summerskill, chief executive of Stonewall, noted that just two NHS bodies were listed on the Stonewall top 100 employers index.

“We heard from a gay Filipino man who worked as a staff nurse in a London hospital,” he said.

“The level of disrespect was worse than anything he had experienced, including working for three years as an openly gay man in Saudi Arabia.”

A report published last year found that 49% of lesbian and bisexual women have not come out to their GP, for fears that they may be discriminated against.

Half of those questioned reported some negative experience of healthcare in the last year.

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