Improving health services for lesbian, gay and bisexuals

Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust is taking part in a year long project to improve health services for lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

The Trust has successfully applied to the Stonewall Health Champions Programme, funded by the Department of Health, which will provide free support to 20 NHS organisations in England during 2012/13.

Stonewall, the gay equality charity, has conducted research which shows that lesbian, gay and bisexual people can face significant health inequalities, as well as discrimination, when accessing health services. The programme offers member organisations practical advice to help them achieve real improvements in the care they provide to local gay people and their families. The Trust will receive:

The equivalent of ten days consultancy worth over £6500

A free initial needs assessment based on Stonewall health research

Support to establish a lesbian, gay and bisexual network group for staff

Access to NHS specific training on sexual orientation equality

Support entering the first Stonewall Healthcare Equality Index to benchmark progress year on year

A benchmarking meeting to identify next steps at the end of the programme.

Alison Gilbert, Director of Clinical Delivery, Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust, said: “We have a duty to ensure that everyone can access our services and that they are treated equally, regardless of issues like gender, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. This project is an important part of our on-going work to embed the principles of equality and diversity in everything we do. The Trust is also introducing the new Equality Delivery System (EDS), launched by the Department of Health, which will help us to deliver against our statutory requirements in promoting and valuing equality and diversity – both to our staff and the people who need our services.”

James Taylor, Stonewall Senior Health Officer, added: “We’re delighted that Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust is taking part in the health champions programme. Stonewall research shows that the specific needs of gay people are too often overlooked in the provision of healthcare. At the same time lesbian, gay and bisexual patients and staff continue to face discrimination, sometimes inadvertent, across the NHS. Our work with NHS organisations across England helps them to meet their legal obligations and, to model best practice.”