UK's medical regulator says sorry for striking off gay doctors before 1966

Intersex-Inclusive Pride flags hang across Regent Street in London

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's medical regulator on Thursday apologised for its past disciplinary action against gay doctors, some of whom had their careers ended by convictions based on now-repealed homophobic laws.

The General Medical Council said it had considered cases against around 40 practitioners and said at least eight were struck off the medical register before 1966.

Other doctors were also issued with warnings.

Britain decriminalised sex between men in England and Wales in 1967. This did not include Scotland or those serving in the armed forces.

Professor Dame Carrie MacEwen, chair of the council, said the regulator was "truly sorry", adding that it could not be sure of the true number of doctors against whom action was taken.

"These are historic cases, but it is right that we apologise for them," MacEwen said in a statement.

Dr Duncan McGregor, of GLADD, an association representing LGBTQ+ doctors and dentists, welcomed the apology and said it was an important step in righting the wrongs of the past.

"While the hurt and damage that has been caused to those doctors cannot be undone, it is important to acknowledge past injustices," McGregor said.

Last year, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak apologised to LGBT military veterans who endured sexual abuse and violence while serving in the armed forces following a report containing testimonies of those who served between 1967 and 2000.

(Reporting by Farouq Suleiman; editing by Christina Fincher)