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Facilitation of sexual and gender identity disclosure and improved healthcare for LGBTQ+ patients: current processes, shortcomings, and recommendations for change

Authors:

Brian Chi Fung Ching ,

Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust, GB
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Amy Campbell,

University of Bristol, GB
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Angela Chase,

Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust, GB
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Merle Schlief,

UCLGB
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Jane Sungmin Hahn

UCLGB
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Abstract

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ+) people are at increased risk of physical and mental health problems compared to their heterosexual counterparts. There are significant barriers to both accessing and maintaining healthcare for LGBTQ+ people. Disclosure of sexual and gender identity should be facilitated within healthcare services to ensure LGBTQ+ people can receive appropriate healthcare. General practitioners (GPs), being the first point of access to healthcare in the UK, should therefore have knowledge of their patients’ sexual and gender identity. Currently, GPs and other healthcare professionals may not adequately facilitate disclosure of patients’ sexual and gender identity because they believe it is irrelevant or because they feel unequipped. Moreover, heterosexist behaviours from GPs and worries of experiencing discrimination may reduce the likelihood of sexual identity disclosure in patients. This article aims to discuss the current processes and shortcomings within the UK healthcare system to demonstrate that disclosure is not adequately facilitated. Evidence-based recommendations for improved practice are provided, focusing on practitioner training and the primary care environment, whilst building upon the recently launched NHS initiatives such as Pride in Practice. Current efforts to facilitate the needs of LGBTQ+ people must be prioritised and extended in order to end the current healthcare inequalities faced by this community.
How to Cite: Ching BCF, Campbell A, Chase A, Schlief M, Hahn JS. Facilitation of sexual and gender identity disclosure and improved healthcare for LGBTQ+ patients: current processes, shortcomings, and recommendations for change. The British Student Doctor Journal. 2021;5(2):38–46. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18573/bsdj.272
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Published on 30 Apr 2021.
Peer Reviewed

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