Study reveals gay and lesbian people experience more health issues
A new UK study has revealed members of the LGBTI community are more likely to face health issues and report a lack of understanding of key issues when consulting a GP.
According to the study, LGBTI people are more than 50 per cent likely to report negative experiences with their GP than their heterosexual counterparts. The study also suggested communication could be an issue for lesbian and gay patients and claimed that they were more likely to experience barriers to treatment and that they had a lack of trust in and satisfaction with services.
Researchers from the University of Cambridge, Harvard Medical School and the thinktank the Rand Corporation said it was important that patients from sexual minorities have the same experience of care as other patients.
The new study funded by the UK Department of Health has reveaed serious gaps in the health experience of LGBTI people compared with herteosexual people.
The study examined data from more than 2 million responses to the 2009-10 English General Practice survey, including 27,000 responses from people who identified themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual.
The study also revealed members of the LGBTI community were more likely to experience poor health than heterosexuals.
Twenty-two percent of gay men and 26% of bisexual men said their general health was "poor" compared with 20% of heterosexual men. Meanwhile, 25% of lesbians and 31% of bisexual women said they had poor general health – compared to 21% of heterosexual women.
The survey also suggested gay people were more likely to experience long-term emotional and psychological issues.
"The survey shows that sexual minorities suffer both poorer health and have worse experiences when they see their GP," said Prof Martin Roland, director of the Cambridge Centre for Health Services Research.
"We need to ensure both that doctors recognise the needs of sexual minorities, and also that sexual minorities have the same experience of care as other patients."
LGBTI advocates suggested the survey highlighted the need for better understanding of LGBTI helath issues and access to health care.
"This research demonstrates how lesbian, gay and bisexual people continue to experience poorer mental health and poorer experiences when accessing primary care than their heterosexual counterparts," said James Taylor, head of policy at LGBTI charity Stonewall.
"It is vital that lesbian, gay and bisexual people are able to access high-quality healthcare free from discrimination and action is taken to improve their health."