Use of the so-called conversion therapy for gays has been roundly condemned at the British Medical Association conference in Brighton.
Last year a survey by University College London had found that a minor number of psychiatrists and therapists were attempting to help gays convert to heterosexuals. The survey had questioned over 1,400 mental health professionals, among whom 17% admitted to trying to help gay and lesbian individuals.
Dr Tom Dolphin, a member of the BMA's junior doctors committee, said that many people had been referred by NHS GPs. "This isn't about therapy designed to help to reconcile people to their sexuality, which is laudable and appropriate," he added. "I'm talking about therapy aimed at changing that sexual orientation."