New Project Gives Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual People a Voice within the Health Care System

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A new project by Manchester-based charity The Lesbian & Gay Foundation will empower people from the lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) community to become ‘The Lesbian & Gay Foundation’s Community Leaders’ to champion LGB health and care needs.

The Lesbian & Gay Foundation’s Community Leaders will attend local NHS meetings, events and forums throughout Greater Manchester to champion the needs of LGB communities and ensure health inequalities experienced within these communities are addressed.

Darren Knight, Head of Policy & Engagement at The Lesbian & Gay Foundation, comments “This project will give lesbian, gay and bisexual people an all-important voice within the healthcare system. Often this community goes unheard and therefore their needs can go unaddressed.”

Statistics

Statistics show that lesbian, gay and bisexual people are at greater risk of self-harm, suicide, depression and are more likely to smoke, drink and take illegal drugs. Yet they are less likely to access mainstream health services because of actual or perceived discrimination, often feeling a need to hide their sexual orientation or avoid services altogether.

  • 1 in 10 LGBT individuals have avoiding using public health services for fear of homophobia (OutHouse: 2004)
  • Half of lesbian and bisexual women have had negative experiences with healthcare professionals in the last year, and half are not out to their GP. Of those who are out, only 3 in 10 said that healthcare workers did not make inappropriate comments when they came out (Stonewall: 2008).
  • A third of gay and bisexual men who have accessed healthcare services in the last year have had a negative experience related to their sexual orientation (Stonewall: 2011)
    All statistics sourced from The Lesbian & Gay Foundation’s Evidence Exchange www.lgf.org.uk/evidence

Darren Knight comments “This project will ensure that NHS staff are more aware of the issues affecting LGB communities and services are designed to meet the needs of real people”.

“The Lesbian & Gay Foundation’s Community Leaders is a major step forward in breaking down the barriers to lesbian, gay and bisexual people accessing the services they need.”

The Lesbian & Gay Foundation’s Community Leaders will help meet the Department of Health’s objectives of better health and wellbeing and better care for all. This innovative new approach to health and social care will enable people to actively share excellent practice and improve integrated care and efficiency. The funding comes from the Department’s Innovation, Excellence and Strategic Development (IESD) fund.

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