According to a House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee report on LGBT+ care, 72% of care professionals do not consider sexual orientation and gender identity to be relevant to one’s health needs.
The committee's report revealed that staff training varies hugely and it raised concerns that staff may not receive any training on LGBT+ issues. The report highlighted: "At the moment, there seems to be neither the leadership necessary to ensure services are designed to be LGBT-inclusive nor swift enough improvements among staff on the ground."
Over 100,000 LGBT+ people took part in the survey, commissioned by the Government. The inquiry heard evidence to suggest that, rather than being intentionally discriminating, most care professionals felt under-equipped to deal with LGBT+ people’s needs. The committee said staff were struggling to communicate effectively with LGBT+ people or to understand how sexual orientation and gender identity are important to person-centred care or did not understand the best approach to take when it comes gender identity.
The group of MPs also felt that people were being let down in health and social care by structures and services that were not inclusive or designed with them in mind.
Committee Chair Maria Miller MP said they “found a lot of good will in health and social care services to make them LGBT inclusive, and examples of good practice” that must be shared. However, she also warned “the best will in the world won’t change the systemic failings.”
The committee found services that already monitor sexual orientation were clearly aware of the health disparities that were uncovered through data collection. It said that, if sexual orientation monitoring remains optional, "health disparities will remain hidden across the services that choose not to implement it". It recommended: "In line with ethnicity monitoring, sexual orientation monitoring should be made mandatory across all NHS and state social care providers within the next 12 months. Any service provider who does not implement it should face fines at a level equivalent to those imposed for not monitoring ethnicity."
Maria Miller added that failures in data-collection and training lead to “poorer experience” and “poorer health outcomes” for LGBT people, which could never be acceptable. She said: "Mainstream services must move now ensure that they are inclusive and are effectively identifying and taking into account the needs of the LGBT communities. We must eliminate the unacceptable inequalities in health outcomes that glare out wherever you look.”
The report, "Health and Social Care and LGBT Communities", is available at: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201920/cmselect/cmwomeq/94/94.pdf
Last reviewed 29 October 2019