LGBT+ experiences of healthcare services

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Darlington wanted to understand the experiences encountered by the LGBT+ community, and how these experiences impact how the LGBT+ community use healthcare services. They worked with Arcus, a counselling and social support service, primarily developed for LGBT+ people, to develop survey which would provide a snapshot of experiences of health and care services in Darlington. 78 people took part in the survey which was supported by Arcus helping to distribute both online and hard copies in the community.

There isn’t a a consistent healthcare service offering for LGBT+ people. People said that it depends upon healthcare professionals encountered whether the experience is positive or negative. Training and education of healthcare professionals was identified as important in providing more empathic practices and encouraging those who need support to go to the healthcare professionals who can help them.

There was a consensus that whilst progress had been made with HIV awareness, there was more that could be done in terms of education that would encourage those who needed to be tested to attend testing.

There was support for maternity services to be made more accessible with the use of inclusive language, helping those who need maternity care to feel supported and understood at this important time in their lives.

The general advice from survey participants was that more training around inclusivity, more respectful communication, awareness of differing needs, and compassion rather than judgement were the key areas that would benefit healthcare providers. More accessible information and services around sexual health were also called upon to improve the service offering to the LGBT+ community. Concerns about being misgendered were often raised throughout the survey.

The report contains three recommendations about staff training, improving awareness of HIV testing and using inclusive language in maternity services.

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General details

Report title 
LGBT+ experiences of healthcare services
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Darlington
Date of publication 
Thursday, 10 February, 2022
Key themes 
Communication between staff and patients
Health inequalities
Information providing
Quality of care
Staff attitudes
Staff training

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
GP practice
Secondary care services 
Sexual health

Details about conditions and diseases

What type of pregnancy or maternity themes are included in the report 

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
16-17 years
18-24 years
25-64 years
65-85 years
Non binary
Prefer not to say
Mixed / multiple ethnic groups
Other ethnic group
Sexual orientation 
Prefer not to say
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Yes action has been taken or promised
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
What type of impact was determined? 
Implied Impact

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.