Political correctness interfering with health care: Questions about sexual orientation spark debate about what is necessary and what is intrusive
08/01/2018 / By Rhonda Johansson / Comments
Political correctness interfering with health care: Questions about sexual orientation spark debate about what is necessary and what is intrusive

General practitioners in Britain are now required to ask their patients if they are gay, straight, or other. The ruling follows the Equality Act 2010 which prohibits any form of discrimination based on such factors as sexuality. The underlying concept of equality is praiseworthy but its implementation is “political correctness gone mad,” said one family GP who practices in Devon. The move for National Health Service (NHS) doctors to ask their patient’s sexuality is set to be implemented early next year.

The move will require all doctors to ask patients over 16 if they consider themselves as straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, not sure, or other. If the patient is unable to answer the question or is mentally unstable, he or she will be classified as “not known.” The NHS has stated that their decision to ask doctors for this information is because lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) people are “disproportionately affected” by health conditions such as poor mental health and are documented to be at an increased risk of self-harm and suicide.

However, the move should not affect the quality of care each person receives.

Not all doctors agree to the ruling. They argue that asking information is “potentially intrusive and offensive.” There is also the concern that asking for a person’s sexuality is not necessary to a medical condition in the first place. Whom a person has sex with, or is attracted to, may or may not be important to know if that person has, say, dandruff. On the other hand, these questions would be highly relevant in a sexual health clinic. Detractors of the move say that sexuality should only be asked when necessary and not as a forced piece of data, such as the patient’s name.


There is little chance of the opposition winning, however. The British government seems set in following the Equality Act 2010 to the letter. A spokesperson from the NHS told the BBC that “collecting and analysing data on sexual orientation allows public sector bodies to better understand, respond to and improve LGB patients’ service access.”

When asked about the reason why this ruling is being required rather than suggested, the NHS responded with, “All health bodies and local authorities with responsibility for adult social care are required under the Equality Act to ensure that no patient is discriminated against.”

Paul Martin, Chief Executive of Manchester’s LGBT Foundation praised the move. “If we’re not counted, we don’t count,” he said.

What information is really needed

How is it that we have reached a point where “equality” means “more for others?” No one is saying that those with a different sexual orientation should be treated differently. Everyone deserves great medical care. This does not mean, however, that doctors should be forced to ask personal information unless it is related to a medical condition.

Instead, doctors should only know information necessary to your specific complaint. You can make the most of your visit by:

  • Keeping a diary – If you are noticing certain symptoms, it is best to write them down, keeping note of the specifics such as date, time, how you felt, activities that happened prior to the onset of the symptoms, etc.
  • Listing down questions – Before you visit your physician, make a list of questions you want to ask. Write them down. It’s easy to forget them once you’re at the office.

You can read more news on political correctness and how it can interfere with healthcare by visiting NewsTarget.com.

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