Cancer doesn’t discriminate. Find out what our friends in Manchester and Staffordshire are doing to mark #LBWomensHealthWeek17 & work to make cancer support, treatment and research more inclusive.
The LGBT Cancer Support Alliance (based in Manchester) meets every few months and is made up of researchers, health professionals and people affected by cancer who all come together with a shared aim to reduce inequalities for LGBT people affected by cancer. Part of their work so far has been to identify and unpick the needs of different groups under the ‘LGBT umbrella’, and the first Lesbian and Bisexual Women’s Health Week comes around just as they are really starting to bring to light the issues which specifically affect lesbian and bisexual women.
Why are these issues only just being uncovered? We know that many cancer services do not ask about or record the sexuality of cancer patients under their care, and this lack of monitoring means that the experiences of lesbian and bisexual women remain invisible*. As a patient this may also have an effect on the ease of conversations and appropriateness of given information around important aspects of recovery, for example a chat with your doctor around your sex life after cancer treatment.
In November last year the Alliance held their first event solely aimed at lesbian and bisexual women, an informal gathering of 10 women from the community to talk about some of the issues and barriers they have faced when accessing cancer services. The Alliance have also looked at underlying public health issues which continue to create inequalities for everyone under the LGBT umbrella, such as their newly published Proud 2B Smokefree report which presents new research on smoking cessation and the LGBT community (the latest ONS data shows that 31% of lesbian women smoke, a much higher rate than heterosexual women at 17%).
To mark the week, the LGBT Cancer Support Alliance will be sharing a new series of videos funded by Macmillan Cancer Support and produced by Alliance member and researcher from the University of Manchester, Maurice Nagington. The study gives us a frank and fresh insight into the lives of UK LGBT cancer patients through video interviews. Whether it’s Laeticia on cancer and life plans or couple Carolyn and Dollar on breast surgery, we hope you will find something of interest in these clips.
The Project aim to highlight and address inequalities for LGBT people affected by cancer. During LB Women’s Health week, they are joining forces with Staffordshire Breast Screening Services. They will be at a different venue across Staffordshire each day with information relevant to lesbian and bi women’s health and wellbeing. They will raise awareness of self-checking, smear tests, smoking cessation services, beauty tips after chemo and much more. They have also had prizes kindly donated by sponsors to offer in a raffle.
*In April 2017 an information standard for monitoring sexuality will be introduced across the health and social care system in England. This standard will enable organisations to monitor sexual orientation in a way that is consistent with all other parts of the healthcare system. Read more here.
Alcohol is one of the most significant factors related to our good health and wellbeing, linked to short term issues such as hangovers and days missed from work, as well as long term issues including cancers and liver damage. The research we have indicates that LGB & T people drink more – and more often – than society as a whole, placing them at increased risk. A new study of LGB & T drinking found venues on the scene heavily promoted alcohol deals, but health messages around safer drinking rarely speak directly to our communities.
At London Friend we run Antidote, the UK’s only LGBT specific alcohol and drug support service. We’re concerned about the long-term impact of alcohol on our community so have launched Sober Start, a campaign aimed at social drinkers whose drinking may be increasing risk to their health.
Sober Start encourages people to assess their own drinking, with tips for cutting down over time. As an incentive we’re also encouraging people to join us for an alcohol-free January detox, building on those New Year resolutions and burning off any excesses from the festive season as a kick-start to a healthier 2016. Those doing so can join our sponsorship campaign and help us raise funds for the Antidote service.
Sober Start uses a simple screening tool to let people assess where their own drinking is at, and makes suggestions for small but manageable changes to cut back and prevent long-term damage. Such assessments are widely championed and used in national initiatives such as the NHS Health Check. Earlier this year we jointly published an LGBT briefing with Public Health England for healthcare professionals and commissioners to make the interventions more widely available to LGB & T people. You can download it here.
We’ll be Tweeting out encouragement to everyone joining us for a Sober Start this January, and you can follow us on Twitter or on Facebook and use the hashtag #SoberStartLGBT to join the conversation. To fundraise for us with your own sponsored Sober Start, or to make a donation to the campaign, sign up here with Just Giving.
Join us and make your January a corker with you own Sober Start!
Monty Moncrieff is the Chief Executive of London Friend
Lesbian and bisexual women are more likely to report negative experiences of healthcare than either gay and bisexual men or heterosexual women.
Large scale studies have also found that both lesbian and bisexual women are more likely than heterosexual women to report ill health or long-standing health conditions.
But what is being done in the provision of services to address this inequality?
PHE is undertaking a review of the academic research into the healthcare of this community. To complement this, the Partnership is producing a document which highlights best practice and makes recommendations to healthcare providers like doctors, nurses and reception staff about how to provide appropriate and welcoming services.
We are collecting patient experiences to be part of the report. We’re asking all lesbian, bisexual and other non-heterosexual women to tell us about positive or negative practice (or even a mix of both) that they’ve experienced when accessing healthcare services.
We’d really like to hear about as many healthcare encounters as possible, so if you have an experience to share, please follow this link to complete our short survey and please share the link with people in your network. Everyone who completes the survey will be entered into a prize draw to win £50 of shopping vouchers.
We’ll also be running some focus groups in London, Manchester and Birmingham throughout December to explore these issues further. All participants will receive £15 shopping vouchers as a thank you for taking part, so please do register to join if you are interested, and of course please share this information with friends too.
Over the last couple of months The National LGB&T Partnership has published three new sets of resources. As well as supporting our strategic aim to encourage and assist with the development of LGB&T competency in health and social care settings through providing guidance to local authorities, directors of public health and adult social care, service providers and commissioners, these resources also provide support to both LGB&T community groups and organisations, and to LGB&T individuals.
The new resources cover three distinct areas: smoking cessation, alcohol use, and mental health; please click on the links below to access the resources. We would also be grateful if you would complete a short feedback questionnaire, linked on each resource page, after reading the resources.
These new resources join our suite of resources available here, including LGB&T companions to the Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework and Public Health Outcomes Framework, and health fact sheets for trans people.
To sign up to our monthly newsletter and be the first to hear about future publications and events, as well as receive information to support your own work on reducing the health inequalities of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities and to challenging homophobia, biphobia and transphobia within public health services, please enter your details here.
CQC regularly inspects all registered health and social care services in England, and we produce a report on each service that we visit. We also do special reviews looking at different aspects of care that are important to people and where care and support may be the responsibility of a number of separate services. We produce a national report on what we find from these thematic reviews. Right now, we are looking at the experiences of people who have been through a mental health crisis.
Since 2010, the Equality Act has legally protected certain characteristics from discrimination, including sexual orientation, gender identity and religion or belief. But how does this work in practice? Has your own or somebody else’s religion or belief proved a barrier to you as an LGB&T person at work, or when using everyday services? Have you experienced the positive effects of being LGB&T and having a religion or belief, or received positive treatment from a religion or belief based organisation? Share your views and contribute to the debate!
The Equality and Human Rights Commission has today launched a major call for evidence from individuals and organisations about how their religion or belief, or that of other people, may have affected their experiences in the workplace and in using the services and facilities they need in everyday life.
After really helpful feedback from a number of our members, we have redesigned our monthly communication to make the information more accessible and bite-sized, moving away from the previous document download format.
You’ll find helpful navigation on the left-hand side of the email newsletter which will allow you to jump to any particular section:
+ Partnership News
+ News from our strategic partners
+ Health news
+ Equalities news
+ Community Resources
+ Opportunities and Events
The LGB&T Public Health Outcome Framework Companion Document has had a letter of support written to accompany it and the National LGB&T partnership will be encouraging Directors of Public Health to engage with it and this letter can be downloaded by clicking here.
Please join us to encourage your local Public Health Director to take on board the messages. The document can be found at www.lgf.org.uk/phof. Also, please let us know if you have passed on this letter and link to anyone by emailing us NationalLGB&TPartnership@lgf.org.uk.
Paul Martin from the National LGB&T Partnership, along with Jabeer Butt from the Race & Equality Foundation, have been appointed as voluntary sector representatives on the NHS Equality & Diversity Council.
Closing date for this opportunity: 2nd December 2013
The Patient Safety team in NHS England are currently recruiting a number of Patient and Public Voice (PPV) representatives to sit on six Patient Safety Expert Groups and on the national Patient Safety Steering Group.
The application form and information pack for the Expert Groups and for the Steering Group are attached above. The closing date to apply for either/or both the Steering Group and the Expert Groups is the 2nd December 2013. Interviews for the national Patient Safety Steering group only will be held on the 9th January 2014.