The healthcare needs of Lincolnshire’s LGBT community are top of the agenda in a new survey which is the first of its kind. The Lincolnshire LGBT+ Patient Group is urging as many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people as possible to complete an online survey on health and social care services.
The survey, which will be completely anonymous, is also being supported by Healthwatch Lincolnshire, an independent body set up to represent local health and social care service users. Developed by local LGBT+ patients and service users, the survey aims to encourage responses from a wide range of LGBT people, for example those who aren’t out, those who live in rural communities, older people and those who belong to other minority groups. National research and comments from local residents suggest that LGBT people may sometimes experience problems with health services, or may be unsure about how doctors and medical staff will react to discussions about LGBT issues. According to healthcare surveys elsewhere in the UK only two in five gay and bisexual men thought their GP had a clear policy on confidentiality, lesbian and bisexual women are twice as likely to have never had a smear test (compared to seven percent of women in general), and 54% of transgender people have been told their doctors don’t know enough to help with aspects of their care. Rachel Higgins, Chair of the Lincolnshire LGBT+ Patient Group said: “We are delighted to be supporting the very first LGBT+ patient survey in Lincolnshire and will be using the results to help improve local services. “If you have anything to say – good or bad – about Lincolnshire health services, now is your chance to let us know!” The survey can be completed online directly via the Lincolnshire LGBT+ Patient Group website. The direct survey link is here. Alternatively, paper copies can be provided by contacting Healthwatch on 01205 820892. Healthwatch Lincolnshire will collate the results and publish a report in September 2015. The findings will be presented to key NHS and social care personnel, to help shape the future of healthcare and improve services in Lincolnshire. To find out more information about the Lincolnshire LGBT+ Patient Group and other issues of interest to local LGBT people, please visit http://www.lincslgbt.co.uk Healthwatch Lincolnshire can also help people with any specific complaints about local services. If you are not LGBT+ but want to talk about health and care services, you can contact Healthwatch Lincolnshire by visiting www.healthwatchlincolnshire.co.uk