Importance of monitoring health inequalities

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f6576 (Published 05 November 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f6576

Re: Importance of monitoring health inequalities

We welcome this article about the monitoring of health inequalities. However, some protected characteristics are not yet being monitored. For example, information on health inequalities by sexual orientation is largely absent, in spite of work done by the ONS to standardise ways of collecting sexual orientation data(1). Research has shown that there is worse mental health(2) and worse health behaviours(3) in lesbian, gay and bisexual people compared to the majority population. It is very likely that there is also worse physical health. Without data collection and analysis by sexual orientation we will not be able to address any health inequalities.

1. Hazledon L, Joloza T. Measuring sexual identity, A guide for researchers, ONS 2009.
2. King et al, A systematic review of mental disorder, suicide, and deliberate self
harm in lesbian, gay and bisexual people, BMC Psychiatry 2008, 8:70
3. Meads et al, A systematic review of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
health in the West Midlands region of the UK compared to published UK research, available at http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/Documents/college-mds/haps/projects/WMHTAC/R...)

Competing interests: No competing interests

06 November 2013
Catherine Meads
Reader in Health Technology Assessment
Brunel University
Uxbridge, Middlesex