Public Health Conference for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transexual communities

The North West Regional Assembly (NWRA), the regional partnership working to improve the quality of life for people in the North West, has announced a Public Health Conference aimed at examining and highlighting the health needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transexual communities.

Nine per cent of residents in the North West belong to one of these groups, which represent a significant proportion of the region’s population. These communities have specific health care needs, some of which are ignored as health care professionals fail to understand individuals’ needs. Experts believe that almost a tenth of public health expenditure could be missing the mark as a result, as well as leading to discrimination.

For example, only 64 per cent of lesbians have cervical smears compared to 80 per cent of woman nationally. Research to be published in February 2007 is expected to show more than 50% of transsexual people felt that their GP was unable to treat them effectively due to lack of knowledge.

The Health Conference, hosted by the NWRA, is aimed at public health and social care professionals to guide and advise them on good working methods and policies to ensure that the needs of these groups are not being ignored.

Keynote speakers at the event include Christine Burns, chair of the transexual gender workstream in the department of health’s sexual orientation and gender identity advisory group, who said: “This is not about condoms for gay men or gender reassignment surgeries – people only change their gender once in life and being gay or lesbian is not just about sex. Everyone needs appropriate healthcare for life, to keep them healthy and productive. If we fail to build health and social care provisions to meet different needs, public money is effectively wasted.”

Other confirmed speakers include:
• Dominic Harrison, north west deputy director of public health
• Dr Stephen Whittle OBE, vice president of press for change, professor of equalities law, Manchester Metropolitan University
• Cllr Paul Fairweather, lead councillor, gay men’s issues, Manchester City Council
• Dr Justine Varney, specialist registrar in public health London
• Paul Martin, chief executive, lesbian and gay federation

The NWRA Public Health Conference will be held at Manchester Town Hall in the Banqueting Suite on 29th March 2007 from 9am until 12noon and followed by a networking lunch.

To reserve a place please contact Jill Millington, external affairs manager at the NWRA by telephone: 01942 737928 or email:

For further information about the North West Regional Assembly, please visit:


For further information, please contact Gemma Gore or Malin Cunningham at Tangerine PR on 0161 817 6600 or email

Notes to Editor:

The North West Regional Assembly (NWRA) was set up in the late 1990s to act as a regional partnership working to improve the quality of life for people in the North West. The Assembly works on behalf of the region by influencing government policy to ensure a fairer distribution of investment across the region, and between this region and other parts of the country.  

The NWRA is a strategic organisation with a broad based representation including local government and business organizations, as well as the voluntary and community sector. It makes decisions on transexual port, housing, planning and European Affairs on behalf of the region to ensure all areas prosper equally, and for the good of the region as a whole.

The Assembly works closely with the Government Office North West and the Northwest Development Agency (NWDA), which together form the three key local governance bodies. It also has statutory responsibility for scrutinizing the NWDA and as the regional planning body for the North West of England.

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