A large proportion of health workers in the UK still believe being LGBT can be ‘cured’.
According to new research from LGBT charity Stonewall, 10 percent of NHS and private sector health workers have been in a situation where a colleague has expressed the belief that being LGBT is curable.
Shockingly, the percentage jumps to 22 in London.
3,001 health and social care professionals were surveyed in the Unhealthy Attitudes study, which was released today.
Overall it found that LGBT people still face discrimination from healthcare professionals.
A quarter of staff working with patients had heard their colleagues make negative comments about lesbian, gay or bisexual people such as “poof” or “dyke”, in the past five years.
Words like “tranny” and “she-male” were also often heard by respondents with one in five saying they had heard such negative language.
Sixty percent of staff who have direct contact with patients said they had heard discriminatory remarks about lesbian, gay and bisexual people and had not reported it.
Bullying in the workplace was also still found to be a common occurrence, with over a quarter of lesbian, gay or bisexual staff saying they had experienced homophobic or biphobic bullying in the past five years.
Worryingly, training on how to deal with LGBT issues appeared to be missing for a lot of staff.
Many said they had little to no diversity training, and some questioned whether or not it was necessary.
Nearly three-quarters of staff with patient access said they had received specific training on the health needs of LGB patients.
Even those who had diversity training still lacked knowledge, with a quarter of those who had received it saying they were told about the legal rights of transgender patients.
Over a quarter, 28 percent, of doctors said they did not feel equipped to respond to the specific healthcare needs of trans patients, and 15 percent said the same for LGB people.
More than half said they did not think sexual orientation was relevant to healthcare needs.
Ruth Hunt, Stonewall chief executive, said: “Health and social care services have a duty to treat people fairly and equally. Yet, as this report shows, there are worrying gaps in knowledge and training relating to LGBT people.
“This is creating a healthcare system that treats both its LGBT patients and colleagues unfairly leading to inevitable on-going health inequalities.
“Unhealthy Attitudes also contains some truly shocking revelations, such as evidence that high numbers of patient-facing staff witness colleagues stating their belief in a gay ‘cure’. This is incredibly harmful and dangerous and should be publicly denounced immediately.”
Stonewall now calls on the Government to publicly condemn the controversial practice of gay ‘cure’ therapy, and for a visible anti-bullying campaign across the NHS