LGBT Health Inequalities Highlighted in New Report

Monday, July 8, 2013 - 16:00

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGB&T) Public Health Outcomes Framework Companion Document launched today, highlights the significant health inequalities experienced by LGB&T people.
The document has been developed by a group of experts from across the LGB&T community working with the Department of Health.  It brings together evidence of inequalities impacting on the health of LGB&T people and their experiences of the healthcare system.

The evidence shows high rates of physical and emotional bullying, and risk of parental rejection and running away in childhood, as well as significantly higher rates of suicide and self-harm, drug and alcohol use and smoking in adulthood, and social isolation and extreme vulnerability in old age.

One of the key recommendations is that sexual orientation and gender identity should be routinely monitored in health and social care.  The Public Health Outcomes Framework (PHOF) published by the Department of Health, does not contain data related to LGB&T communities because of the lack of monitoring and inclusion in national surveys.  This means that the health needs of LGB&T people are largely ignored.

The LGB&T PHOF Companion Document seeks to redress the balance and to help everyone working in health and social care to consider the needs of LGB&T people. It provides a useful reference tool as well as best practice case studies illustrating how services can work together to improve LGB&T health.  It makes recommendations across four key areas of recognition, engagement, monitoring and service provision.

Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive of Public Health England said: "Given as a health system we are serious about our mission to address inequalities, one group that must demand our attention is the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans community.  The LGB&T Companion to the Public Health Outcomes Framework sets out the evidence base related to each public health indicator, and makes clear recommendations for action at local, regional and national levels. I have tasked the Health and Wellbeing Directorate of Public Health England, with its responsibility to lead on health inequalities, to seek ways to support the implementation of these recommendations. This is my commitment and I encourage others to do likewise.

Heather Williams, Policy & Research Manager at The Lesbian & Gay Foundation said: "This document is a significant development in the recognition of the health inequalities faced by LGB&T communities. We are delighted that Public Health England and the Department for Health support this document, and hope others working in public health will follow their lead to take forward the recommendations"

Dr Justin Varney, Gay and Lesbian Association of Doctors and Dentists said: "The evidence clearly demonstrates the need for focused and targeted work with LGB&T communities and the explicit monitoring of LGB&T health if local areas want to see progress against the national Public Health Outcome Indicators.  Both local and national bodies need to recognise that universal approaches can only go so far to meet the needs of minority communities."

The Companion can be found here.


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