Last reviewed 24 February 2021

As the nation celebrates LGBTQ+ History Month, leaders from across the healthcare system have made a series of recommendations to ensure service designers and commissioners develop workplaces that meet the needs of the LGBTQ+ population.

The annual event is a celebration that provides education and insight into the issues that the LGBTQ+ community faces. Leaders from the healthcare sector have agreed that for the LGBTQ+ population to recover and thrive after the Covid-9 pandemic, the way services are designed and delivered, and the workforce environments they are delivered in, must change.

Following consultation with The NHS Confederation’s Health and Care LGBTQ+ Leaders Network members, recommendations have been developed to guide healthcare leaders, service designers and commissioners. The recommendations include creating visible leadership and confident staff; creating a strong knowledge base; being non-heteronormative and non-cisnormative in everything you do; taking responsibility for collecting and reporting data; listening to service users; and proactively seeking out partners to co-deliver services.

Eleven pilot sites from across the country have already been identified to start implementing these recommendations over the next year.

LGBT History Month celebrates LGBT+ people in all their diversity, raises awareness, and combats prejudice with education. This year's theme is Body, Mind, Spirit.

Despite the ongoing coronavirus pressures, several organisations are holding virtual events to acknowledge the month and honour the history of the LGBT+ community, including educational talks, virtual art exhibitions, film screenings and readings from companies such as the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and the People’s History Museum in Manchester.

NHS Confederation Director of International Relations Layla McCay has written about the range of negative experiences within the health and care sector that affect the physical and mental health of LGBTQ+ people, and may restrict their opportunities and achievements.

She said things are also challenging for some LGBTQ+ patients. A recent survey by NHS England found at least 16% of respondents who accessed or tried to access health services had a negative experience because of their sexual orientation, and at least 38% because of their gender identity.

A survey by Stonewall has also found that almost one in four LGBTQ+ people have witnessed discriminatory or negative remarks against them from healthcare staff, and one in seven avoided treatment for fear of discrimination. She said the Covid-19 pandemic is only highlighting and exacerbating LGBTQ+ health inequalities. Her blog is available here.

More information about the activities for the month is available from the NHS Confederation here.

The LGBTQ+ History Month website is here.