LGB GP Patient Consultation
Publish Date: 24/04/2012
“Why do we need to know a patients sexual orientation? We treat all our patients the same!”
It's reassuring that some GP surgery staff treat all their patients with the same dignity, respect and care across the board.
However, unfortunately this cannot be said for all healthcare professionals; some of whom do not provide equality of care for their lesbian, gay and bisexual patients (LGB).
Figures show that 1 in 10 lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans individuals have avoided using public services for fear of homophobia, and 1 in 5 health care professionals have admitted to being homophobic. (Statistics taken from Out House, I Count Research 2004 & HMSO, Equalities Review: Sexual Orientation Research Review, 2007).
Interestingly, almost 10,000 LGB people responded to the GP Patient Survey 2011 and reported that they were approximately twice as likely to rate their GP as poor or very poor, when compared to heterosexual people, across a range of measures.
So, are we as LGB people not treated the same as heterosexuals?
It is true that sexual orientation is a sensitive issue, but that shouldn't mean that it is ignored. This isn't always about asking direct questions about sexual orientation, rather it's about using appropriate language and not making assumptions about peoples' sexuality. It is often assumed that we as LGB patients are heterosexual, often leading to compromising situations, or us feeling compelled to ‘come out’.
In recent research The Lesbian & Foundation carried out with over 1,000 lesbian and bisexual women around their experiences of cervical screening; 93% of participants thought that more needed to be done to train health professionals in the needs of LGB women relating to cervical screening. And in terms of the training given to healthcare professions, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with 90% of participants saying they felt more or a lot more informed.
But it isn’t just about Sexual Health!
As Lesbian, gay and bisexual people we are more likely to experience mental health issues, sexual health concerns, problems with substance misuse, social isolation, discrimination and hate crime. It is therefore essential that our needs as LGB people are considered in helping to overcome these health and social inequalities.
What do you think?
We are looking to find out about your experiences as an LGB patient of your GP though a consultation event at the LGF Resource Centre 6.00pm – 8.00pm, Tuesday, 15th May, if you would like to attend please RSVP by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org call 0845 3 30 30 30 . Light buffet and refreshments will be served.