Healthwatch Southend took part in Southend Pride for the first time this month! We were so pleased to be able to talk to local people, not just from the LGBTQIA+ community, about their experiences of health and care locally.
Access to mental health services was one theme we picked up. We also heard good and bad reports about access to general practice. Some of the most worrying comments came from those wanting gender reassignment surgery, where the waiting lists are extremely long. This affects individual’s mental health, often in a serious way.
Healthwatch Southend looked at the experiences of LGBTQIA+ people in 2022 and made the following recommendations:
Education and awareness raising must be part of induction and ongoing training for all clinicians and care staff, not just GP’s and their surgery staff. Uptake of this training should be monitored and reported to patients
Commissioners learn from the experience of Mid Essex practices in introducing the Pride in Practice initiative
Consideration should be given to, developing a discreet Sexual Health Clinic for LGBTQIA+ community
Sexuality and gender data should be recorded in health and social care settings.
More support be given around fertility treatment for members of the LGBTQIA+ community
Specific LGBTQIA+ training, be made available for Perinatal and Maternity Support Staff
Creative engagement is used to attract people who identify as LGBTQIA+ to patient groups and support networks
The needs of older people who identify as LGBTQIA+ are considered in the design and development of health and care services
We know that the Director of Public Health referred to our report in his latest Annual Report. Unfortunately there are still no practices in Southend which have completed the process to get Pride in Practice status. We will ask the NHS bodies involved to let us have an update on our recommendations, which we will publish here.
If you would like to share any of your experiences with us, please get in touch by emailing us at email@example.com, calling (01702) 416320 or clicking on the link below. We’d love to hear from you!