Should patients be asked about their sexual orientation?

An academic and a GP debate the pros and cons

All patients should be asked about their sexual orientation as a matter of course, argues research fellow Richard Ma, from Imperial College London.

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“In practice all professionals should ask patients how they define their sexuality during every encounter,” he says. “Patients can, of course, refuse to answer.”

However, Dr Ma notes some doctors and patients have expressed concerns about this policy, citing reasons such as intrusion or invasion of privacy, fear of causing offence, doubts about relevance, data security, and that it is a tokenistic gesture that will not make a