The consultation group met to discuss Lesbian & Gay Foundation (LGF) research into 550 LGB patients’ experiences in primary care across the UK, as part of the Pride in Practice project.
Pride in Practice is a benchmarking tool to support excellence in LGB healthcare, helping GPs to ensure that their LGB patients are treated fairly and are able to discuss issues openly with their GP or healthcare provider.
RCGP, GMC and GPC leaders were joined at the meeting by representatives from the NHS Commissioning Board, The Gay and Lesbian Association of Doctors and Dentists, staff from other NHS organisations and GP practices in Manchester.
They discussed ways GPs could better support patients to be open about their sexual orientation and how practices could be supported in providing services for LGB patients.
The group identified a need for all practice staff to receive training and looked at how GPs can refer to specialist LGB support services.
RCGP president Dr Iona Heath told GPs delivering healthcare to LGB patients to 'be nice, don’t judge, don’t assume’.
Junior doctor and BMA representative Dr Tim Crocker-Buque said: ‘Going to the GP is already a stressful experience, as you are worrying about something related to your health.
‘If you're LGB then you also have the additional anxiety caused by the potential reaction a GP may have to your sexuality. What would happen if your GP reacts negatively? Simply having a poster in the waiting room immediately relieves this additional level of anxiety, allowing an LGB patient to focus on their health needs.’