BY JAMES TWOMEY
Patients who identify themselves as LGBT+ will have better access to doctors and hospitals after a £1million funding pot for organisations was made available.
The LGBT Foundation has been given the cash by the Government Equalities Office to deliver its Pride in Practice programme which will provide inclusive healthcare to LGBTQ+ patients in Lewisham.
The programme will be rolled out across 50 sites in the borough providing practitioners with training and support, as well as access to an information guide on referrals, legal rights and conditions common in the LGBTQ+ community.
The Government Equalities Office provided £1 million for organisations to improve LGBT people’s health and social care. Minister for women and equalities, Penny Mordaunt, said: “Everyone in this country should feel safe and happy to be who they are, to love who they love, and to live their lives without judgement or fear.
“That’s why this Government is stepping up its work to tackle bullying in schools, to protect more children and to stop hatred from festering and growing into discrimination in adulthood.
“The aim of our Action Plan is that everyone can live safe, happy and healthy lives where they can be themselves without fear of discrimination.”
The LGBT Survey found that at least 16 per cent of survey respondents who accessed or tried to access healthcare services in the past year had a negative experience because of their sexual orientation, and more than half of those surveyed who accessed or tried to access mental health services said they had to wait too long.
Sydenham councillor Chris Best said: ‘Pride in Practice is a brilliant initiative and we are delighted to be working with the LGBT Foundation to roll it out across Lewisham.
“We want to ensure everyone in Lewisham is able to access the high-quality healthcare and advice they need.”
The LGBT Foundation is a national charity delivering Pride in Practice as a support service for all primary care services, which focuses on healthcare to LGBTQ+ patients ensuring they feel safe, respected and supported.
Laurence Webb, the assistant director for inclusion at the LGBT Foundation, said: “One in five lesbian, gay and bisexual patients report that their sexual orientation is a factor in them delaying accessing health services and more than half of trans people feel they need to pass as non-trans to be accepted by health professionals.
“This can lead to worse health and well-being outcomes for LGBT people. We’re working towards a fair and equal society where all LGBT people are able to reach their full potential, and this is why we’re excited to bring Pride in Practice to London.
“Pride in Practice will improve the lives of LGBT people by increasing their access to primary care services, ensuring those services meet the needs of all their patients, and that LGBT people are treated with dignity and respect in primary care.”