GP consultation room is a 'safe space' for LGBT patients, says RCGP

Publication date: 30 January 2018

Professor Kamila Hawthorne, Vice Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to a study about patients' sexual orientation published in the British Journal of General Practice today.

She said: "Patients should never be made to feel as though they have to disclose their sexual orientation to their GP, if they don't want to. But at the same time, they should be reassured that anything they discuss with their GP is strictly confidential, and that the consultation room is safe space to talk about things which could be affecting their health and wellbeing.

"GPs are highly-trained to consider any physical, psychological and social factors potentially affecting their patients' health, so it’s always helpful to know as much as possible about the patient in front of us when making a diagnosis and developing a treatment plan, and that includes sexual orientation and gender identity.

"Ultimately, we want all of our patients to feel comfortable accessing medical care from their GP practice when they need it – and if our LGBT patients feel inhibited to do this, as this research suggests many are, then we need to work out why, and take measures to address this.

"The College has also worked with Public Health England to develop e-learning courses on LGB issues in primary care, which has been updated this month and includes discussion of ways to make practices more accessible for patients.

"RCGP Northern Ireland has also issued specific guidance for members in NI on delivering care to LGB patients, and separate guidance for trans patients."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7574/7575/7633/7410
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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