Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Briefing

Caring for LGBT patients in the NHS

BMJ 2019; 366 doi: (Published 10 September 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l5374

Linked BMJ Opinion

Trans health and the risks of inappropriate curiosity

  1. Francesca Robinson, freelance journalist, Hampshire, UK
  1. fran.robinson8{at}

Many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender patients have poor experiences and outcomes, a parliamentary inquiry hears. Francesca Robinson reports

What evidence is there of poor care?

The UK Equality Act 2010 says that LGBT people must be treated fairly and without discrimination. But last year a government survey to which 108 100 LGBT adults responded found disproportionate dissatisfaction with NHS services.1 Respondents said that staff members were ignorant of their health needs, specifically about mental and sexual health services.

Poor mental health is more prevalent among LGBT people than the general population. Of the 33 440 respondents who reported accessing or trying to access mental health services in the past year, 28% said it had not been easy. The commonest reason given was long waits (72%), and about a fifth cited unsupportive GPs.

Respondents who mentioned gender identity and gender transition described difficulty in in accessing services. GPs lacked knowledge about services and how to access them, they reported.

In a 2018 survey for the LGBT equality charity Stonewall almost a …

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