Monday, 23 June 2008

'Normal' Service

After a nice restful weekend, I'm returning to my ranting. There was a study done of lesbian and bisexual women and their perception of healthcare. (oh and yea it's gonna be one of those posts)

Thing is we've already discovered that the NHS is sometimes homophobic. Towards staff and patients.
Come on, you might not notice it but when you assume that someone is being stupid when they answer that they have sex but don't use contraception, it could be discrimination. I answer questions that way and so do most of the LGBT community.

People, that sucks! Why do we not consider the alternatives? I remember multiple lectures on respecting other cultures and religions. The importance of spirituality.

What about the importance of your partner being ignored when you are ill? Them being locked out of knowing how you are doing? Of being too scared to tell your doctor in case you end up getting second rate treatment?

Remember how I call this one of 'those posts'? Heck that was me making assumptions about what people want to read about. Giving them a chance to tune out before they read anything that would offend them.

What I did like was the recommendations...
1. Understand lesbian health needs:
Yea, I think we could do with some training on that. Even I can't tell you some of the answers, aside from that ALL women need smears.
2. Train staff:
To stop saying things that would offend...
3. Don't make assumptions:
I revert to the point I made earlier.
4. Explicit policies:
So we don't discriminate but they are useless if NO one acts on them.
5. Tell lesbians what they need to know:
Some proper health promotion in this area would be a good start.
6. Improve monitoring:

One in ten lesbian and bisexual women stated that when they did come out to a healthcare worker they were either ignored, or the healthcare worker continued to assume they were heterosexual.
Continued to assume? Now that scares me. By all means be offended, I'm used to it, but please I've told you already, I ain't for turning.
7. Increase visibility:
If the NHS wasn't so homophobic towards staff then maybe you'd find out who I am but I'll be the one not making assumptions.
8. Make confidentiality policies clear:
See 4!
9. Make complaints procedures clear:
And again see 4! One proper definitive policy that covers all the bases.
10. Develop tailored services:
Right the NHS is slightly skint so this could be hard to change but the other 9 would make a good start till the money thing is figured out.

Full study here!


cb said...

I hope noone is honestly offended by your post because I think you've got some very good points there. Discrimination and assumptions need to be fought on every level and some receive more attention than others.
The recommendation are very important. I have found that working in older people's services sexuality is often an aspect of identity that has been ignored because it might make some people uncomfortable - but it's about making assumptions and also about staff training and understanding. I can think of a few times when friends living together weren't identified as same-sex couples and if dealt with more sensitively could have made a difficult situation a lot easier.

WardBunny said...

Thanks for that!
More than once I've seen all sorts over looked and in older adults no-one seems to want to talk to them about sexuality or dying. Such a shame because you can see that they need or want to talk but are stifled and let down by the system.

Post a Comment


Shelfari: Book reviews on your book blog