GPs to bid for ‘gay-friendly’ plaque in NHS-backed scheme
Thu, 19 Jan 2012
GP surgeries will be judged on how ‘gay-friendly’ they are to patients in a new scheme backed by the NHS in the North West.
But Christians in the medical profession in other parts of the country have faced disciplinary action for mentioning their faith.
The new scheme, called “Pride in Practice”, is being run by a homosexual organisation, the Lesbian and Gay Foundation, and NHS North West.
GP surgeries which sign up for the scheme will be marked on five criteria including staff awareness and training, creating a “welcoming environment”, and health promotion.
Those practices which pass the assessment will be then given a Gold, Silver or Bronze award to “recognise their level of achievement”.
According to the scheme’s literature, displaying the Pride in Practice plaque will “demonstrate that your surgery is LGB affirmative”.
Pride in Practice will be launched on 14th February to coincide with lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans history month.
Last year the case of Christian doctor Richard Scott attracted headlines after he faced disciplinary action for discussing his faith with a patient.
Dr Richard Scott, one of six Christian partners at Bethesda medical centre in Kent, says he had discussed his faith with patients “thousands of times”.
But the General Medical Council claimed that by talking about Christianity Dr Scott distressed one of his patients, and risked bringing the medical profession into disrepute.
And in 2008 Caroline Petrie, a Christian nurse, was suspended from work because bosses said her offer to pray for a patient broke “equality and diversity” rules.
Mrs Petrie was investigated by North Somerset Primary Care Trust after offering to pray for one of her patients at the end of a home visit.
However the Trust later invited her back to work after widespread media coverage of her story.
The Trust acknowledged she was acting in her patient’s “best interests”.
In July last year the UK’s leading medical defence group said GPs are free to pray with their patients as long as they are receptive to the offer.
The Medical Defence Union quoted a senior figure at the General Medical Council saying that a “tactful” offer to pray could be appropriate.