The role of the LGBT sector in tackling inequalities in health

National LGB&T Partnership leads project to identify how best to work across systems to reduce inequalities in health and wellbeing

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National LGB&T Partnership leads project to identify how best to work across systems to reduce inequalities in health and wellbeing

Public Health England has funded the National LGB&T Partnership to lead a project for the next 6 months to encourage and support specialist and mainstream service providers and others to improve the offer for LGBT populations as a way of tackling general as well as specific inequalities in health and wellbeing. Success in reducing inequalities in health and life expectancy will not be achieved if LGBT communities are not a central part of efforts to tackle inequality overall.

Inequalities in health are worsening. There is a 19-year difference in life expectancy for those born in the richest and those in the poorest areas. The causes of ill health, and inequality, are complex. They encompass action on the social determinants of health such as poverty, housing, employment and education, as well as access to health services and information about healthy living. The additional challenges routinely faced by LGBT people mean that responses need to be specific and appropriate.

There is no one cause and as such, there is no one organisation that can provide solutions. Listening to our communities and targeting our efforts – as well as the efforts of others –  to prevent ill health are key roles for the LGBT sector.

LGBT communities have resources and assets that are valuable in securing improvements; these include friendship networks, sport and faith groups, and other community organisations, as well as proud histories of activism and mobilisation. There are also resources in mainstream organisations which have yet to be unlocked.

Collaboration is key. Bringing statutory, voluntary and community sector organisations and LGBT people together is critical to better understand the challenges, identify solutions and take concerted, coordinated action.

Outputs from the project include a series of focused round table events and a resource for services identifying key issues, policy drives and examples of good practice. Whole systems work in two pilot sites – the London Borough of Lambeth and Leeds – will provide learning for other areas to implement.

Any questions or suggestions, contact David Woodhead – david.woodhead@lgbtconsortium.org.uk