Pride in Practice launch

Publish Date: 15/02/2012

NHS North West and The Lesbian & Gay Foundation today launched Pride in Practice – a new patient standard for lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) healthcare.

Health professionals from around the North West attended the launch at The Lesbian & Gay Foundation’s Community Resource Centre in Manchester, alongside speakers Dennis Baldwin (GP Project Manager), Shahnaz Ali (Director of Equality, Inclusion and Human Rights at NHS North West), Dr Clare Gerada MBE (The Chairwoman of the Royal College of General Practitioners ) and Ben Squires (Senior Commissioning Manager, Greater Manchester NHS).

Paul Martin OBE, Chief Executive of The Lesbian & Gay Foundation opened the event and took the opportunity to highlight the need for projects like Pride in Practice in ensuring that GP’s surgeries are welcoming places for lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

“This project started a long time ago when we started taking out an innocuous poster to GP’s surgeries across Manchester highlighting The LGF’s services. The poster said “Lesbian? Gay? Bisexual? We Are Here If You Need Us!” and signposted our website (www.lgf.org.uk) and our helpline (0845 3 30 30 30).”

“Nearly 80% of GP’s refused to put it up. That’s when we approached NHS North West and the journey towards Pride in Practice began – to help ensure GP’s were meeting the needs of their LGB patients and that their surgeries are welcoming places for LGB people.”

The LGF’s Dennis Baldwin then highlighted what would be expected of surgeries who sign up to Pride in Practice and how surgeries will be benchmarked as bronze, silver or gold.

Shahnaz Ali from NHS North West - who commissioned Pride in Practice – celebrated the 17 surgeries who have signed up to Pride in Practice so far, and hoped that it would be extended across the North West.

She also acknowledged, how NHS North West had worked hard to embed the equalities agenda into the organisation’s DNA and how Pride in Practice is part of that.

The event’s keynote speaker Dr Clare Gerada - Chairwoman of the Royal College of General Practitioners - was beamed in live via Skype.

She welcomed the Pride in Practice benchmarking toolkit as a way to challenge health inequalities faced by lesbian, gay and bisexual patients.

Dr Gerada said: “The Pride in Practice toolkit is music to my ears. It’s so important that we raise awareness of lesbian, gay and bisexual issues and debunk myths.  It’s well written, full of useful information and simple and important messages, especially around lesbian and bisexual women’s risk of cervical cancer.”

“We must work together to address homophobia and biphobia in general practices as part of the journey to make healthcare better, for those patients who at the moment are not receiving optimum care.”

“There’s a long way to go, but I’m optimistic for the future and Pride in Practice is a fantastic start.  I’m committed to taking excellence in LGB healthcare forward and keeping it on the agenda.”

Ben Squires, Senior Commissioning Manager at Greater Manchester NHS took the opportunity to celebrate both The Docs and the Urban Village Medical Practice both Manchester practices who have been piloting Pride in Practice and who were both awarded the gold standard in LGB healthcare.

He said: “without accessible primary care people will never get good quality care.”

For pictures of the launch please visit: http://bit.ly/wEo1eX

To find out more or to register for Pride in Practice visit: http://www.lgf.org.uk//pride-in-practice/, or email dennis.baldwin@lgf.org.uk