You may also be giving more attractive patients better treatment.
Asked to respond to photographs of 325 patients aged 40 to 60 from the most affluent or deprived practices in Northern Ireland, GPs were much more positive about the affluent.
A team of 20 male and 10 female GPs rated more affluent patients as markedly more physically attractive.
GPs from deprived practices were particularly susceptible.
The patients’ level of affluence affected the GPs more than three times as much as whether they smiled or not.
The research team from the Queen’s University of Belfast suggested the ‘unfortunate and probably unpalatable’ conclusion that ‘more attractive people get preferential treatment.’
‘More attractive people get a better deal,’ said lead researcher Dr Dermot Reilly, senior lecturer in the department of epidemiology and public health at Queens University Belfast.
Doctors should ‘attempt to ensure a disadvantaged sector of the population is not inadvertently further disadvantaged,’ the study concluded.