LGBT people in Britain have worse health than straights

Higher rates of bullying, suicide and self-harm, drug and alcohol use, smoking, and social isolation in old age revealed in study

LGBT people in Britain have worse health than straights
20 May 2013

A new report launched today reveals that in Britain LGBT people have worse health than straights.

British LGBT people have higher rates of physical and emotional bullying; suicide and self-harm; drug use; alcohol use; smoking in adulthood; and social isolation and vulnerability in old age.

The Public Health Outcomes Framework (PHOF) published by the Department of Health does not contain health data relating to LGBT communities because of the lack of monitoring. This means that the specific health needs of LGBT people are often ignored.

But the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Public Health Outcomes Framework (LGBT PHOF) Companion Document launched today (20 May) tries to redress the balance and help those working in health and social care to consider the specific needs of LGBT people.

Heather Williams, policy and research manager at The Lesbian and Gay Foundation in north-west England said: ‘This document is a significant development in the recognition of the health inequalities faced by LGBT communities’.

The document follows the structure of the Public Health Outcomes Framework, providing data and evidence specifically on LGBT communities.

It shows LGBT people have worse health and have a harder time in the healthcare system.

Dr Justin Varney, Gay and Lesbian Association of Doctors and Dentists said: ‘The evidence clearly demonstrates the need for focused and targeted work with LGBT communities and the explicit monitoring of LGBT health if local areas want to see progress against the national Public Health Outcome Indicators.’

The LGBT PHOF Companion Document includes best practice case studies which show how services can work together to improve LGBT health.

One of the key recommendations is that sexual orientation and gender identity should be routinely monitored in health and social care.

There are also recommendations for actions to address inequalities in outcomes for LGBT people and communities.

The report is for Health and Wellbeing Boards, public health teams, local authorities, the NHS, and voluntary and community organisations that commission and provide services.

The LGBT PHOF Companion Document has been developed by a group of experts from the LGBT community working in partnership with the Department of Health.

The working group was co-ordinated by The Lesbian and Gay Foundation. It is a charity offering services to lesbian, gay and bisexual communities and campaigning for a fair and equal society.

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