A doctor who advised students to act less ‘overtly gay’ to pass a medical exam is now under investigation by the Royal College of General Practitioners.
British newspaper The Independent reports the RCGP has launched the inquiry into Doctor Una Coales’ guide, which set out ways in which minority candidates could ‘neutralize bias’ from examiners of the Clinical Skills Assessment.
Coales suggested gay male students speak in deeper voices and walk ‘like a straight man’ if they wanted to pass the exam.
In one passage of the guide, Coale says: ‘One candidate was facing a third sitting, and yet no one had told him that his mannerisms, gait and speech were too overtly gay, and that he was sitting an exam administered by a right-wing conservative Royal College.
‘So I advised him to lower and deepen his high-pitched voice and neutralize his body movements.
‘He went back to his surgery, practiced his speech until his voice went hoarse and modified his body language.
‘Not only did he pass his exam, but he informed me he noticed a huge difference in the way patients interacted with him.’
In a separate article, she suggested overweight students should ‘project an image of Santa Claus’ by playing their linked hands on stomachs to appear ‘paternal’.
She also suggested foreign candidates, if working in Scotland or Wales, to ‘focus on emphasizing the lyrical Scottish or Welsh accent’ to stop racial bias.
Neil Hunt, Chief Executive of the RCGP, said they do not endorse Coales’ guide, rejected the advice given and said all examiners receive regular training in equality.
He said: ‘We take equality and diversity extremely seriously and through our examiner and role-player training and quality assurance programs aim to ensure that no candidate is discriminated against on any grounds.’
When Coales was previously asked about her advice, she said: ‘All of my suggestions are simply about getting you through the CSA.
‘They’re about changing your image to get you through this one assessment. They’re not about changing who you are.’