- Posted Monday August 7, 2017
Over the past few weeks we have been reminded of how homosexuality was decriminalised just 50 years ago, and that since then tolerance and inclusivity have steadily increased for LGBT people. These changes will undoubtedly have affected all GP practices, but could we be doing more?
There have been many changes to how we help LGBT patients get the healthcare they need. As such, there are various schemes around to assist surgeries ensure a high level of knowledge, provide an accessible and supportive service, and challenge some of the fear and ignorance that can still remain.
As a practice, we decided to take part in Pride in Practice, a patient standard for excellence in lesbian, gay and bisexual healthcare that is backed by the LGBT Foundation and NHS North West.
Statistics surrounding LGBT people and healthcare include:
- One in five lesbian, gay and bisexual patients report that their sexual orientation is a factor in them delaying accessing health services. (Richardson, Jo. 2010)
- One in four lesbian, gay and bisexual people are not out to any health professionals. (NHS Wirral, 2012)
- Lesbian, gay and bisexual patients are twice as likely to report they have no trust or confidence in their GP. (National GP Survey, 2012)
- Three in four trans people have been called the wrong name or pronoun by a health professional. (J. McNeil, 2012)
- Over half of trans people feel they need to pass as non-trans to be accepted by health professionals. (J. McNeil, 2012)
- If LGBT people have experienced discrimination at any point, their fear of further discrimination will often prevent them from speaking out. (Dihedral 2013)
Pride in Practice started in the North West and has spread across England. As a practice, we were contacted by the LGBT Foundation and decided to go for accreditation under the Pride in Practice scheme, which enables practices to promote their equality credentials, and demonstrates their commitment to ensuring a fully inclusive, patient-centred service.
The scheme includes access to training around LGBT inclusion, as well as practical support, guidance and confidence building for staff members on how to implement gender identity, trans status and sexual orientation monitoring systems. The accreditation can also be used as evidence in CQC assessments.
It’s an asset for GP practices to have ongoing information and support about how to best meet the needs of LGBT people. Once a practice is registered with Pride in Practice they are encouraged to complete a self-assessment. I am proud to say our practice achieved the Gold Standard and found the experience very interesting. I definitely feel it was worthwhile getting involved.
To find out more, take a look at LGBT rights charity Stonewall’s guide to sexual orientation for the NHS.
What steps have you taken at your practice to increase inclusivity? Have you engaged in any similar schemes? Share your thoughts and ideas with fellow PMs in the comment section below.