LGBT people are being invited to submit evidence to a government inquiry into inequalities in mental healthcare faced by the community.

Existing evidence shows that health outcomes are generally worse for LGBT people than for the rest of the population.

The Government’s recent survey of 108,000 LGBT people found that many had difficulties accessing healthcare services, some had experienced inappropriate questioning and curiosity from healthcare staff, and that many feel their specific needs are not taken into account in their care.

Almost one in five survey respondents had a negative experience of accessing public health services because of their sexual orientation and one in three because of their gender identity.

Three quarters of LGBT people who had accessed or tried to access mental health services reported that it had not been easy. More than half said they had to wait too long. 27% were worried, anxious or embarrassed about going. 16% said their GP was not supportive;

Nearly a quarter (23%) say that being out in a care setting has had a negative effect on their care.

“Evidence suggests that the healthcare needs of LGBT people are not currently being met effectively," said Maria Miller, Chair of the Government's Women and Equalities Committee which will conduct the enquiry. 

"Some report that they still face discrimination in health and social care, and there are inequalities in outcomes between LGBT groups and the wider population.

"We welcome the Government’s recently announced Action Plan and its commitment to ensuring that LGBT people’s needs are at the heart of the NHS."

"This is therefore a crucial time for us to look at how services can best be provided and improved for LGBT patients."

"We want to hear from organisations, individuals, researchers and service providers about what can be done to make health and social services more effective for LGBT people.”

The Committee will look at the following issues...

Understanding and addressing LGBT health inequalities:

  • In what areas of health do LGBT people experience worse outcomes than the general population?
  • What is known about why this is, and what interventions are effective in improving outcomes? What are the gaps in evidence? 

Meeting the needs of LGBT people in health and social care:

  • What evidence shows that LGBT people have particular needs as health and social care users? What are these needs?
  • How effectively do health and social care providers take into account the needs of LGBT people? How should provision of specialist services be balanced with a mainstreaming approach?
  • What should be done to improve, what examples of best practice are there, and what is the evidence about what works?
  • What particular challenges do older LGBT people face in accessing social care, housing and end-of-life care?
  • What evidence is there that LGBT people with other protected characteristics (older people, people from BAME communities, disabled people) face particular problems with discrimination in or access to health services, and what actions could be taken to improve health and social care experiences and outcomes for these different groups?

Discrimination in health and social care:

  • What does the evidence show about levels of discrimination against LGBT people when they access health and social care? What types of discrimination are faced and in what areas of health or social care?
  • What are the causes of that discrimination?
  • What actions have been taken by health and social care providers to reduce levels of discrimination? How effective have these actions been?

The National Adviser for LGBT healthcare: 

  • How should the new National Adviser for improving LGBT healthcare go about their work? What needs to happen for this role to be effective?
  • What should the National Adviser’s priorities be, and what would you like them to achieve?

The Committee invites written evidence from organisations and individuals on the above issues to be submitted by 5 October 2018. Guidance for giving evidence is available here.

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