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Raising the equality flag

This study takes as its starting point the fact that most LGBT people aged over 50 were born when being gay was effectively illegal in the UK.  Some may have hidden their LGBT identity - and from a health perspective, this could have led them to hide aspects of their own health for fear of “outing” themselves. For others, it could have fostered a reluctance to engage with health services for fear of discriminatory attitudes by health care providers.

The study looked at the health and care needs of older LGBT people across four categories: physical health and access to health care; access to social care and end-of-life care; experiences around loneliness, social isolation, and mental health; and experiences of violence.

It found that LGBT men and women aged 50+ have poorer self-rated health and are more likely to have other conditions that impact their health and wellbeing.  This matters because poor self-rated health is a strong predictor of future mortality and is also used to determine healthy life expectancy and disability-free life expectancy. 

There are implications for policy and practice: bodies like Public Health England are required to work toward reducing health inequalities, while local authorities have a duty to advance equality established in the Equality Act 2010.  In spite of this, responses are patchy.  For example, an information standard for monitoring sexual orientation is now available to all NHS organisations but use of the standard is not compulsory.  

The report makes the point that specialist or targeted services rarely exist outside certain cities in which there are higher concentrations of LGBT people.  But it goes on to say that while there is value in targeted/specialist services in certain areas of the country, greater effort must be made to improve the inclusivity of mainstream service provision.

You can download the report via our website.
LGBT evidence on tap

There is good evidence available on LGBT people's experiences of health and care services.  The following focus on the experiences of older LGBT people:  

A study on the experiences of LGBT people aged 60+ in general practice found that most participants said that they would talk to their GP about being LGBT if it was relevant. However, a minority said that they would not do so under any circumstances. This was often related to past experiences of discrimination.

A resource pack for professionals offers good practice guidance on meeting the needs of older LGBT people using health and social care services.

A CQC report on addressing inequalities in end of life care considers the issues for LGBT people.

For more evidence on all-age LGBT patient experience, search "LGBT" here:  
This just in…
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Our quarterly Patient Experience magazine carries insightful comment from a range of contributors, as well as our top picks of recent reports on patient experience and patient/public involvement. 

Patient Experience in England is our annual overview of the evidence base, drawing on surveys and research from government bodies, health charities and academic institutions.  The evidence is broken down into manageable chunks, and research findings are grouped under key themes for ease of understanding. 

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Do you know of a stand-out report on patient experience that people in CCG's, PALS teams and local Healthwatch should be reading?  If you do, and you'd like to see it featured in this newsletter, let us know! 
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