The British Medical Association has declared so-called ‘conversion therapy’, designed to change a patient’s sexuality, harmful to those ‘treated’.

The declaration was made at the annual meeting of the association in Brighton yesterday.

“Sexuality is such a fundamental part of who a person is that attempts to change it just result in significant confusion, depression and even suicide,” said London SpR in anaesthetics Tom Dolphin at the meeting.

“You can’t just wish away same-sex attraction no matter how inconvenient it might be,” he added.

There was a minority of doctors who believe that it is important to respect the wishes of patients who ask for the therapy.

Nevertheless, more than two thirds of doctors present backed a call for the Royal College of Psychiatrists and other mental health standard-setting bodies to repudiate the ‘treatments’ and include stipulations in their codes of practice against them.

Health departments should also investigate alleged cases of conversion therapy being funded by the National Health Service, the meeting agreed.

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