When we go to see our health care providers, we must feel that the environment they are in is the best place for us to be.

I think it’s always best to be honest and up front as much as possible in life and especially with healthcare professionals like your doctor or nurse. This ensures a quality of care that is appropriate for you and tailored to your needs but most of all gives everyone the bigger picture about their own health care.

Sometimes it’s hard to feel that you can trust someone, especially if that trust has previously been broken or abused, but it’s important not to over think things and to try and place a bit of trust with your primary care team. There have been huge changes within primary care over the years and this is more obvious now than ever before where openness with discretion is key for today’s healthcare.

With the visibility of LGBT Foundation’s “Pride in Practice” programme, it’s great to see that more doctors, dentists, pharmacists and optometrists are now making headway throughout Greater Manchester into shaking off old prejudices. I’m glad that my local surgery as well as many surgeries in Middleton have now taken to the “Pride in Practice” scheme and being chair of my local surgery’s PPG (Patient Participation Group) helped me to push them to obtain their gold award with Pride in Practice.

Today, most surgeries in my area have a high level of LGBT awareness and treat all patients without prejudice anyway but there is always room for improvement. Education is key on both sides of the consultation. The patient should have autonomy to make their own decisions about their healthcare but without the most appropriate choices being explained to them by their health care provider there could be poor decisions being made on either side of the table. I think it’s more than just the patient-doctor relationship, it’s about the whole healthcare team and how joint decisions are to be made within this team.

I cannot thank my surgery’s staff enough for taking in so many ideas and putting them into practice for the better of the LGBT community as well as the whole community in Middleton without hesitation. There’s still a lot more to do, we are not anywhere near the end of the tunnel yet so we have to keep helping everyone out as we go along.

- Mike, Rochdale, Heywood and Middleton