GP surgeries have been advised to display LGBT symbols to encourage gay patients to ‘come out’ to their doctor.
The study was published in the British Journal of General Practice (BJGP).
Critics have slammed the report, accusing the BJGP of encouraging doctors to ‘pander to the PC brigade’.
The review of ‘sexual orientation disclosure’ in healthcare settings, conducted by researchers at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, recommends that waiting rooms have “LGBT friendly” posters and leaflets on show.
It also advises that “signs or symbols that convey an accepting atmosphere, such as a rainbow symbol” are displayed in waiting rooms.
The review was welcomed by Professor Kamila Hawthorne, of the Royal College of GPs, who said: “If surgeries find that displaying a rainbow symbol in their practice encourages LGBT patients to seek medical attention when they need it, then that’s a good thing.”
‘Divisive and exclusionary’
But Alec Shelbrooke MP disagreed, saying: “Patients can complain if they feel discriminated against. Hanging a flag is pointless.”
Andrew Bridgen MP added: “You would have thought doctors would have higher priorities than pandering to the PC brigade”.
Simon Calvert, Deputy Director at The Christian Institute, said: “A GP’s surgery is meant to be a neutral place where everyone is welcome. But the rainbow flag is divisive and exclusionary.
“GPs should just ignore this advice.”
Last year, the NHS announced plans to ask all patients aged 16 and over to reveal their sexual orientation.
The guidance for England, which is not binding, recommends that “sexual orientation monitoring occurs at every face to face contact with the patient, where no record of this data already exists”. Critics questioned the need for patients to be asked about their sexuality.
The Chairman of the Family Doctor Association Dr Peter Swinyard said it “is not the place of family doctors, to start monitoring people’s sexuality”.