A shocking number of British health care workers have unhealthy views on LGBT people.
A new poll estimates that thousands of U.K. medical professionals believe that same-sex attraction can be "cured." One in 10 respondents in this field reported overhearing their co-workers express such a view. In London, that ratio increased to 1 in 5.
Moreover, anti-LGBT slurs were reported as commonplace in hospitals and clinics. One in four persons polled reported hearing homophobic or biphobic remarks from health care colleagues. One in five said they overheard transphobic slurs like "tranny."
The study shows that this antigay and anti-trans environment has taken its toll on LGB employees — 26 percent said they had been the target of bullying or discrimination.
In addition, doctors have admitted to lacking the expertise to treat their LGBT patients, with 15 percent reporting they can't meet the specific care needs of gay, lesbian, and bisexual patients.
For transgender patients, that number jumps to 28 percent. Alarmingly, 3 in 5 staff members who deal with patients do not even consider sexual orientation to be pertinent in health care.
Stonewall, a U.K. LGBT rights group, commissioned a poll of 3,000 health and social care staff members who either administer or help facilitate the care of patients in hospitals and private clinics in England. The study, titled Unhealthy Attitudes, was conducted by YouGov, an internet-based marketing research firm.
Ruth Hunt, the head of Stonewall, stressed the hypocrisy of these anti-LGBT views to the British newspaper Daily Mail.
"Health and social care services have a duty to treat people fairly and equally," she stated. "Yet, as this report shows, there are worrying gaps in knowledge and training relating to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people. This is creating a healthcare system that treats both its LGBT patients and colleagues unfairly leading to inevitable on-going health inequalities."
"[The report] 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,'" she added. "This is incredibly harmful and dangerous and should be publicly denounced immediately."
In order to counter these harmful beliefs and biases, Stonewall is working with more than 50 organizations in the National Health Services, the United Kingdom's nationally funded health care system. The group is also lobbying to end the use of "ex-gay" conversaion therapy in the U.K.
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