Community Leaders: Working with GPs
Pride in Practice is a benchmarking tool that identifies GP surgeries that are fully committed to assuring that their lesbian, gay and bisexual patients (LGB) are treated fairly and able to discuss their issues openly with their GP or healthcare provider.
LGB people experience great health inequalities. For example:
- In 2011, 70% of all sexually transmitted infection (STI) clinic attendees received an HIV test; with the highest coverage among men who have sex with men (83%).
- Over 1 in 12 lesbian and bisexual women aged between 50 and 79 have been diagnosed with breast cancer.
- It is estimated that 40% of LGB people have a clinically recognised mental health problem, whereas 25% of the general population will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year.
These statistics and thousands of others are available on LGF’s Evidence Exchange, an evidence base of statistics about LGB&T needs and experiences. To access Evidence Exchange please go to www.lgf.org.uk/evidence-exchange.
It is vital that GPs are equipped with this knowledge to ensure the best health comes for their patients.
However there are further issues, many LGB people do not feel comfortable talking to their GP about their sexual orientation. This can be because of real or perceived homophobia or biphobia. Research has found:
- 10% of LGB&T individuals have avoided using public health services for fear of homophobia.
- 30% of LGB people said that healthcare workers did not make appropriate comments when they came out.
There are a vast amount of reports of incorrect medical information has been given to LGB people for example:
Research shows that around 40% of women who have sex with women (WSW) have previously been told that they do not need smear tests, either by healthcare professionals or by members of the community.
Pride in Practice is a service for GP practices that aims to improve health outcomes for LGB people.
Pride in Practice celebrates and promotes those GP practices that are meeting the needs of their LGB patients and work to support practices to enable them to meet the needs of their LGB patients. Support is focused around:
- Creating a welcoming environment
- Increasing their knowledge of LGB health care issues and barriers
How can you help?
Promoting patient interaction
For registered GP practices we want to hear feedback from patients both positive and negative so we can develop a training needs analysis for each registered practice.
Furthermore receiving both positive and negative feedback on patient’s experiences with none registered practices would aid the development of the project. If we receive negative feedback regarding a practice we can then call that practice and offer the Pride in Practice service and give them the opportunity to access more information and training.
Depending on the feedback received this may indicate that a practice maybe in danger of falling short of the Equality Act 2010 or the Care Quality Commissioning Guidance.
If we receive positive feedback about a LGB patient’s experience in a GP practice, we can contact that practice and discuss how registering with Pride in Practice can promote their good service and give them information about how we can support the improvement of their service.
Engaging with non-registered GPs
We are looking to engage with as many GPs as possible regardingPride in Practice. The service was born out of another project where the LGF asked GP to put up posters advertising our helpline.
This is something we are still really keen to have displayed in every GP practice. When asking GP practices if they would like a poster, whatever their response may be we can use that information to then try to engage the practice with Pride in Practice.