Unhealthy attitudes: the treatment of LGBT people within health and social care services

Document type
Report
Author(s)
Somerville, Catherine
Publisher
Stonewall
Date of publication
11 September 2015
Subject(s)
Health Services, Minority Groups, Social Work, Social Care and Social Services
Collection
Social welfare
Material type
Reports

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Health and social care services have a duty to treat people fairly and equally, but this report highlights some major gaps in the knowledge and training of staff relating to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, which is resulting in unfair treatment of both LGBT patients and colleagues. In the last five years alone, 24 per cent of patient-facing staff have heard colleagues make negative remarks about lesbian, gay and bisexual people, and one in five have heard negative comments made about trans people. Lesbian, gay and bisexual staff echoed this, with a quarter revealing they had personally experienced bullying from colleagues over the last five years. One in ten health and social care staff across Britain have witnessed colleagues express the dangerous belief that someone can be ‘cured’ of being lesbian, gay or bisexual.

Health and social care organisations have a responsibility, under the Public Sector Equality Duty, to eliminate discrimination towards and advance equality for LGBT people. However, this research finds that only 59 per cent of all health and social care staff think their employer is taking effective steps to prevent and respond to discrimination and poor treatment of lesbian, gay and bisexual people. This decreases to just 48 per cent for trans people. The report demonstrates that the one-size-fits-all approach to equality and diversity that has dominated public healthcare provision in recent years has created gaps in the way LGBT staff are supported and LGBT patients are cared for. These gaps have left health and social care staff unequipped to challenge prejudice, with staff often lacking any equality and diversity training as well as the confidence to understand and meet the needs of LGBT patients and service users.

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