Negative and discriminatory attitudes towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people is commonplace in the caring professions according to a survey commissioned by the LGBT rights organisation Stonewall.
Its survey among people working in health and social care found around a quarter had heard colleagues make derogatory comments about LGBT people. And far from being an enlightened modern city, London has one of the worse problems in the country.
According to Stonewall 25% of those surveyed in the capital had witnessed discrimination against colleagues because of they were gay, lesbian or bisexual. This is the highest rate in the country, and London also had the highest rate of discrimination against trans people.
There are likely to be more people who are openly gay, lesbian or bisexual working in health and care services in London than the rest of the country if the employee base reflects society in general. 2.6% of people in London identify themselves as gay, lesbian and bisexual compared to an average of 1.6% across the UK, according to survey data for 2014 by the Office for National Statistics.
Across the country 1 in 10 health and social care workers in patient-facing roles had heard staff express the belief that homosexuality could be “cured”. In London the rate was 1 in 5. Counseling and psychotherapy bodies in the UK, NHS England and the British Medical Association condemn so-called conversion therapy.
According to the Health and Social Care Information Centre, 11% of staff in the NHS is from overseas. Some may come from more conservative cultures where there is less acceptance of homosexuality. It is not clear from the survey whether this has any impact upon attitudes.
The survey found that many staff did not feel able or equipped to challenge discriminatory behavior among colleagues or patients. About a quarter said that they had not received diversity training and the majority had not been given training on the specific health needs of LGBT people.
You Gov carried out the Unhealthy Attitudes survey for Stonewall and spoke to 3,000 people across England and Wales.