MPs have launched a probe into the healthcare received by LGBTQ people after a major government survey revealed nearly four in 10 transgender people have had a negative experience because of their gender identity.
The poll of 108,000 LGBTQ people published last month showed that 72 percent had experienced problems accessing mental health services, while almost a quarter (23 percent) believed they had received worse care as a result of being open about their sexuality.
Meanwhile, a 2015 report by campaign group Stonewall found that seven percent of healthcare staff had witnessed bullying, abuse or harassment towards a patient because of their sexual orientation over the past five years.
The Commons Women and Equalities Committee has now launched a probe into discrimination in the healthcare system and what can be done to tackle the issue.
The inquiry will hear evidence from organisations, individuals, researchers and service providers.
“Evidence suggests that the healthcare needs of LGBT people are not currently being met effectively, some report that they still face discrimination in health and social care, and there are inequalities in outcomes between LGBT groups and the wider population,” said Tory MP Maria Miller, who chairs the committee.
Welcoming the government’s new action plan on how to improve the lives of LGBTQ people, Miller said it was a “crucial time for us to look at how services can best be provided and improve for LGBT patients”.
The announcement comes after HuffPost UK revealed many elderly LGBT people fear they will have to go back in the closet if they need to go into a care home.
Lucy Russell, head of policy at Stonewall, said the charity was pleased the committee was looking into LGBTQ health and social care.
“While the majority of health and social care staff want to deliver the best possible service to lesbian, gay, bi and trans people, discrimination still exists and puts the health of LGBT people at risk,” she said.
“A one-size-fits-all approach to equality and diversity in healthcare has created discrepancies in how LGBT patients are cared for.”
NHS England has been contacted for comment.