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Our response to the publication of the NHS Long Term Plan 

Published: 08 January 2019 Tags: #NHS #monitoring By Emma Meehan

Paul Martin OBE, Chief Executive of LGBT Foundation responds to the publication of the NHS Long Term Plan on 7th January

“We broadly welcome the commitments laid out in the NHS Long Term Plan published yesterday. We particularly welcome the commitment to a comprehensive model of person-centred care, because we know that when people’s identities are recognised and valued, that their patient experience is better. The full implementation of the Sexual Orientation Monitoring Information Standard across the system is critical to this because we know that if LGBT people aren’t counted, we don’t count.

We also welcome the renewed focus on ending the health inequalities faced by some populations and look forward to working with the new National LGBT Health Advisor to ensure that the specific health inequalities faced by LGBT people, such as poorer mental health, loneliness and isolation, and access to appropriate health screenings, are addressed. The newly equal provision of the HPV vaccine to all young people is one example of this, which we support wholeheartedly

It’s also positive to see much needed funding being committed to mental health services. Research shows that lesbian and bisexual women’s mental health is significantly poorer than that of heterosexual women, and with older LGBT people being more likely to live alone and feel isolated, investment into adult mental health services should specifically target these marginalised groups. In a world where 52% of young LGBT people have reported self harm, and 44% of young LGBT people have considered suicide, we also welcome the additional mental health support based in schools.

The renewed commitment to invest in primary and community health services will make it easier for LGBT people, who often face barriers when accessing healthcare, to get support and treatment closer to them. It’s critical that primary care services are equipped to deliver the best care for their LGBT patients. LGBT Foundation’s Pride in Practice programme has now reached 1.9 million patients in Greater Manchester, who are registered at Pride in Practice accredited surgeries, giving reassurance to the estimated 215,000 LGBT people in Greater Manchester, that their identity will be recognised and respected when they visit their GP. This includes NHS staff themselves, and we are pleased to see long overdue action being taken on the negative experiences of some LGBT staff who reported discrimination and abuse in 2017.

It's critical that the future investment into healthcare in Greater Manchester reflects the needs of its LGBT communities, including the development of the primary care led Trans Health Service in Greater Manchester, which will for the first time provide trans people with access to specialist healthcare within the city-region. Finally, we would like to see urgent action on universal access to PrEP on the NHS. By enabling those who need it access to preventive treatment, we can help to deliver on Greater Manchester’s commitment to ending all new transmissions of HIV within a generation.”