Britain's Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has launched an inquiry after a senior GP advised would-be family doctors to act "less overtly gay" if they want to pass their exams.
The Independent reports Dr. Una Coales offered the advice in a guide for medical students, igniting a firestorm of controversy.
Coales suggests gay students speak in deeper voices and change their body language to increase their chances of success in the RGCP's Clinical Skills Assessment.
Dr. Coales also advises Nigerian and Asian trainees to "focus on the lyrical Scottish or Welsh accent" if they are taking their exams in those regions. She also writes in the guide that female candidates should wear floral dresses, while male candidates should shave off their beards and overweight students should try "to project an image of Santa Claus."
The guide was published three years ago but the remarks went virtually unnoticed until the former head of the British Medical Association tweeted about them this week. David Haslam, who is also a past president of the Royal College of GPs posted, "I was shocked and appalled to read about Dr Una Coales. She should be deeply ashamed. Attitudes like this have no place in medicine."
But Dr. Lindsay Moran, treasurer of the Yorkshire faculty of the RCGP says, "Whatever people's views on Una Coales' comments, she highlights important bias against students/doctors that needs more consideration."
Research into discrimination against foreign doctors in the 1990's found that a doctor's chances of getting a job interview were cut in half if they had an Indian-sounding surname. And researcher Sam Everington says, "There is no sense that things have changed."