December 6, 2022

Preparing for the next generation of doctors in the UK

What is the next generation of UK doctors learning about some of the most contested issues of the day?

On the LGBTQI+ front, medical students in the UK are being told to “affirm” transgender patients and to support bans on “conversion therapy”.

Three-quarters of UK medical schools – 33 out pf 43 — have signed up to a charter issued by The Association of LGBTQ+ Doctors & Dentists (Gladd). The document calls upon the General Medical Council to “recognise the harm of ‘conversion therapy’ and how participation in the delivery of ‘conversion therapy’ breaches the core principle that a doctor to ‘do no harm’”.

Jane Galloway, of Transgender Trend, commented that medical schools were falling into a trap set by activists. “This means doctors will not be able to properly explore if a child has gender dysphoria, autism or something else.”

Psychotherapist Bob Withers told The Daily Mail: “The danger of doctors being taught to unquestioningly affirm a patient’s gender identity is that it encourages those with gender dysphoria down the path to medical treatment, making permanent changes to their body that they may later come to regret.”

On the sex workers front, around 5% of British medical students have been involved in the sex industry at some point. The Sharp Scratch podcast on the journal BMJ produced by medical students says that “With student poverty set to worsen over the coming months, more students might turn to sex work to cope with the cost of living crisis.”

Sex work is varied. It includes strip work, escort agencies, and on-line pornography, not just prostitution.

The podcast editor spoke with a sociologist specialising in sex workers who told her: “We don’t have to uphold these very archaic understandings of who a doctor is and what a doctor should be.” Unfortunately, however, “students have faced discrimination or even disciplinary action because of their involvement in this work.”

One of the participants asked what patients might think if they knew that their doctors were involved in sex work. The sociologist responded that people should ask how good a doctor is at her job, not what she does outside of the job.