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LGBT people face barriers to getting health care in the UK because of discrimination

LGBT people face barriers to getting health care in the UK because of discrimination

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New evidence has shown how LGBT people face discrimination which acts as a barrier to accessing health and social care.

The Women and Equalities Committee received more than 60 evidence submissions to its inquiry. The inquiry hopes to investigate why health outcomes are generally worse for LGBT people.

A recent government survey of 108,000 LGBT people found that many had difficulties accessing healthcare services. Some had experienced inappropriate questioning and curiosity from healthcare staff. While many also feel their specific needs are not taken into account in their care.

‘Our inquiry was launched based on statistics showing that the healthcare needs of LGBT people are not being met effectively,’ said Committee chair, Maria Miller MP.

‘The sheer variety of evidence submissions we’ve received lay bare the stark inequalities in outcomes between LGBT groups and the wider population.’

Improving health access

The inquiry will look at whether: provision is adequate, discrimination is still occurring, and what more needs to be done to improve access.

‘The evidence suggests the NHS is not delivering and there appears to be a perception that the healthcare needs of LGBT people are deemed “less important”,’ Miller said.

‘As we now head into the next stage of our inquiry, we will consider the issues brought to our attention before producing a report with recommendations about what more needs to be done to improve access to health and social care for all LGBT people.’

One of the major issues in the healthcare system was the ‘unhelpful conflation of LGBT health services with sexual health services’, according to researchers at the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology (POST).

A 2014 Stonewall UK report called Unhealthy Attitudes found only 59% of all health and social care staff think their employer is taking effective steps to prevent and respond to discrimination and poor treatment of LGB people.

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