The Government Equalities Office published the National LGBT Survey in July 2018 and the healthcare experiences of people who are LGBTQ+ remains poor compared with heterosexuals and those who fall within the majority gender identity categories.
So what have been the issues?
- Trans people who accessed general healthcare services had negative experiences purely because of their gender identity.
- Healthcare providers continue to make the assumption of heterosexuality which means that patients have to take the risk of disclosure and without visible signifiers or indicators from consultants, nurses or support staff, how would someone know if a person was LGBTQ+ aware?
- Trans people in particular are subject to inappropriate curiosity and questions that are not relevant to their care.
- LGBTQ+ people are less likely to be out in the healthcare workplace (which adds to stress and anxiety levels) because there are few if any senior visible people who show support for LGBTQ+ issues so it means that LGBTQ+ professionals continue to feel that being who they are will impact on their progression and opportunities in the workplace.
- Support from professional bodies representing healthcare workers has been inconsistent, intermittent and lacks tangibility. This means that members of these professional bodies are less likely to take the issues seriously or even think about them or reach out to build their knowledge or educate themselves.
- There are many more issues which have yet to be explored particularly in terms of intersectional identities within the LGBTQ+ community and the additional discrimination that Black and Minority Ethnic LGBTQ+ people face along with those with disabilities and those from poorer backgrounds.
What are some of the things happening at BSUH NHS Trust?
- BSUH Rainbow Lanyards and NHS Rainbow Pin Badges
To show support for LGBTQ+ staff and allies who belong to professional organisations, the Royal College of Nursing, UNITE and UNISON, have stepped forward to pay for some of our rainbow lanyards and pin badges. This is a clear, tangible and visible indicator that these organisations support those they represent participating in this LGBTQ+ awareness raising initiative which benefits staff, patients and the public. BSUH NHS Trust would like to take the opportunity to thank these three bodies for stepping up and taking the time to raise the profile of LGBTQ+ issues in healthcare which benefits patients across age groups, ethnicities, disabilities and so forth who may identify as LGBTQ+, may be parents of those who are LGBTQ+ or who may be allies.
2. After many years, BSUH NHS Trust submitted an entry to the Stonewall Workplace Index. There will be a conference in February 2019 to announce the results and staff will hear from the senior managers about their plans for LGBTQ+ inclusion for staff, patients and all that access services.
3. BSUH has a staff network for LGBTQ+ people and allies. They run regular events, work with community groups, enter Pride festivies, support LGBTQ+ recruitment and publish newsletters.