'Gay conversion' therapy banned
GPs in Northern Ireland have welcomed a government move to ban "gay conversion" therapy.
The controversial practice is to be banned under a new £4.5 million LGBT action plan outlined by the British government.
It states: "We will consider all legislative and non-legislative options to prohibit promoting, offering or conducting conversion therapy."
The Northern Ireland branch of the The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) welcomed the move.
RCGP chairwoman Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said Northern Ireland GPs have been at the forefront of condemning conversion therapy.
"GPs are highly trained experts in the whole body and mind, and the GP consultation is a safe space where our patients - regardless of their sexual orientation - are guaranteed a non-judgmental conversation during which the GP, working with the patient, will advise on the best care, tailored to them as an individual," she said.
"The RCGP has been at the forefront in condemning conversion therapy. Indeed, we were the only medical Royal College to have co-signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2015, which was updated last year.
"Our college in Northern Ireland has also won widespread acclaim for its pioneering guidelines on the care of LGBT patients.
"Being LGBT is not a disease, it is not a mental illness and it doesn't need a 'cure'. Any proclamations to the contrary risk causing harm to our gay and trans patients' physical and mental health and well-being, as well as perpetuating discrimination in society."