Understanding communities is essential for good care
We read the Practice Pointer ‘Safeguarding LGBT+ adolescents’(1) and the Rapid Responses with interest. We are grateful to the authors of this article for raising a number of important issues. The Memorandum of Understanding on Conversion Therapy in the UK(2) is a multidisciplinary and unequivocal rejection of this damaging practice. GLADD (The Association of LGBT Doctors and Dentists) is a signatory of this landmark document, and we welcome the UK Government’s commitment to prohibiting this therapy(3).
Under the Public Sector Equality Duty(4), all UK health organisations must pay due care to the needs of their patients with protected characteristics and promote equality. In order to help provide consistency, NHS England produced the Sexual Orientation Monitoring Information Standard(5). Very few parts of the NHS have adopted this or are routinely asking or recording sexual orientation. Yet this would lead to a better understanding of health inequalities, improved targeting of preventative healthcare measures, and ensure equitable access to services. Until care providers understand the communities they serve, the well-documented inequalities experienced by LGBT+ patients are likely to persist.
1. Salkind J, Bevan R, Drage G, Samuels D, Hann G. Safeguarding LGBT+ adolescents. BMJ 2019;364:l245 https://www.bmj.com/content/364/bmj.l245
2. Memorandum of understanding on conversion therapy in the UK, Version 2. 2017. https://www.psychotherapy.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/UKCP-Memoran... (accessed 18-Feb-2019)
3. UK Government Equalities Office. LGBT Action Plan 2018. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/fil... (accessed 18-Feb-2019)
4. Equality Act 2010. https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/contents (accessed 18-Feb-2019)
5. NHS England. Sexual Orientation Monitoring Information Standard. 2017 https://www.england.nhs.uk/about/equality/equality-hub/sexual-orientatio... (accessed 18-Feb-2019)
Competing interests: No competing interests