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A contemporary review of LGBTQ+ healthcare teaching in the UK medical curriculum

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Emily PattinsonORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Abstract: Background: Changing societal views and the increasing prevalence of online education has created an environment ideal for the evolution and change of the medical curriculum. One area in need of improvement is LGBTQ+ healthcare teaching. Current literature demonstrates that LGBTQ+ individuals have higher levels of poor mental and physical health than heterosexual, cis-gender individuals. Therefore, it is key that the medical curriculum is made more inclusive of the LGBTQ+ population to ensure future doctors can provide inclusive care. This review aimed to examine the current literature on LGBTQ+ healthcare teaching in UK medical curricula, identify potential barriers to change, and explore efforts to improve the LGBTQ+ healthcare teaching in the UK. Methods: Literature searches were carried out using the PRISMA framework. The databases used were PubMed, Ovid, Embase, AMED, Global Health and Scopus. The searches were carried out in July 2021. Results: 15 relevant papers were reviewed. Three main themes were identified: 1) medical students (or medical schools) believed current education on LGBTQ+ healthcare was insufficient; 2) students reported wanting more in-depth practical education on LGBTQ+ health; 3) the potential impact of a lack of LGBTQ+ healthcare education on clinicians’ confidence and ability to treat LGBTQ+ patients. Discussion: LGBTQ+ healthcare is lacking in the UK medical curriculum which has the potential to negatively impact patients. The teaching that is present is firstly inconsistent which leads to disparities and unreliability for LGBTQ+ patients. It is also heavily focused on sexual health which can lead to damaging stereotypes. Despite there being barriers to improving LGBTQ+ healthcare education, we present practical suggestions to overcome these. Further research should explore in greater depth the level of knowledge of medical students on LGBTQ+ healthcare, and their perceptions of curriculum improvements, in order to establish a basis for future curriculum change.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Barber A, Flach A, Pattinson EM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: The British Student Doctor

Year: 2022

Volume: 6

Issue: 1

Pages: 23-34

Online publication date: 01/12/2022

Acceptance date: 09/04/2022

Date deposited: 28/04/2022

ISSN (electronic): 2514-3174

Publisher: Cardiff University Press


DOI: 10.18573/bsdj.317


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