Beth Caldwell

Assistant Practice Manager, The Chandler Surgery

It is extremely important to understand the needs of all our patients and over the past 12 months we have looked closely at how we can make visiting the surgery a more positive experience for those patients who identify as LGBT.

We know that just one negative experience can have a major impact on a person’s mental health, especially in healthcare settings. This may prevent a patient from returning to access medical care they may really need in the future. We want LGBT patients to access the care they deserve in a warm and welcoming environment, involving them in making those decisions surrounding their care at all times. At the Chandler Surgery, we treat all patients with the same level of respect and dignity providing them with the highest standard of care.

We have made some important changes in practice, enhancing the services we provide to LGBT patients. Keeping up to date and liaising with external patient services to ensure our patients are always receiving the highest standard of care possible.

Our practice team have gained a lot from the Pride in Practice training, especially surrounding information on screening for LGBT patients. We have been made aware just how easy it may be for LGBT people to miss screening, in particularly when a patient changes their gender marker. Recalls are in place to prevent this from happening and we have a streamlined process in place with the PCSE- registrations department to ensure the needs of our LGBT patients are always captured.

At the moment, Pride in Practice is an optional training programme in Wigan. I feel that all Primary Care settings would massively benefit from this to develop a greater awareness of what LGBT people may face when accessing health care. Support bubbles within practice would be great to have, enabling patients to share their experiences and to make suggestions as to how healthcare services can be improved. We currently have a diverse Patient Participation Group who meet quarterly.

We now hope that those LGBT patients who we are not aware of may feel more at ease to come to see our Clinicians about any issues they may have, knowing we have all the information needed to refer them to dedicated LGBT services i.e.: mental health/ counselling.