Report calls for mandatory monitoring of sexual orientation across NHS services.

  • Jo Whelan
  • Medical News
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Monitoring of sexual orientation should be mandatory across NHS services in the same way as ethnicity monitoring, says a new report by The House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee. Any service providers who do not implement it should face fines.

  • Gender identity monitoring work should be accelerated with a view to creating a standard by the end of 2019, the report recommends. This should become mandatory by the end of 2020. Monitoring is currently optional.
  • Stonewall has welcomed the recommendation, provided information is collected and recorded sensitively and frontline staff are trained to collect it. “Doing this will help all health and social care providers meet their legal equalities duties, identify inequalities experienced by LGBT people, and develop plans to address these,” Stonewall says. Disparities are said to be particularly large for transgender people.

Providers of health and social care services have insufficient understanding of LGBT people's needs, according to the report. LGBT people need to be treated equally, but not identically to other groups. Other recommendations include:

  • All commissioning outcome frameworks should include an explicit requirement to demonstrate how a service provider will meet equalities obligations and best practice and show that it has consulted on and considered the needs of LGBT service-users.
  • NHS England should review all new funding bids from CCGs and Integrated Care Systems to ensure that the needs of local LGBT populations have been specifically taken into account. Bids found lacking should be passed to the Equality and Human Rights Commission for enforcement action.
  • Medical training currently implies that sexual orientation and gender identity are not relevant to providing “person-centred care”, but this needs to change.

However, the report acknowledges that good practice exists and that few people set out to discriminate.