The Network wishes to thank Weymouth Gay Group (WGG) for news of a Weymouth & Portland area NHS General Practices services on NHS healthcare changes since the onset of Covid 19. We, with WGG, wish to thank Dorset CCG Officer, Jim Gammans for his communication below concerning Dorset CCG actively seeking LGBT+ community participation in the survey (deadline for responses 18th December).
As we are sure most community members know, there are a number of areas of reticence in involving in NHS performance and services improvement surveys — survey fatigue, bad experiences of community members using NHS services where LGBT+ support needs are concerned (signposting on ‘Coming Out’ as gay/lesbian/bi, or as Trans, etc.) — and of course encountering direct or perceived homophobic/biphobic and transphobic experiences on accessing or seeking to access NHS services at GP and other levels. The Network is working with pan-Dorset NHS organisations, especially Dorset Healthcare NHS University Foundation Trust to advise and implement the necessary changes required to address this NHS ‘LGBT+ engagement competence,’ community credibility and confidence issues. Here is Jim’s request (at the most conservative/restricted level never less than 6% of our general population in the UK, worldwide, and, yes, Dorset, are LGB&T — realistically speaking our LGBT+ population is more in the 10%+ region):
‘I’ve seen analysis of responses so far and only 2.5% of responses have identified as LGBTQ+, ideally it would be great to get a few more. Is there any chance you could share the survey with your contacts, supporters etc? The link to the survey is below, if you had any questions just message me or email: email@example.com. The survey closes next Friday (18th). If you are able to help that’d be great! Many thanks. Jim.
The Network regards this survey as important, and deeply appreciates Jim Gammans concern about very low LGBT+ community uptake on participation (clearly impacted by the very well-known and well-evidenced factors detailed by us above). The Network will in 2021 look forward to pursue Dorset CCG engagement on any particular needs on Weymouth & Portland NHS General Practices, LGBT+ community engagement/communication to seek, where appropriate, meaningful change/improvement.
Lessons and guidance from the Network for our friends in the NHS organisations of Dorset and of Bournemouth/Christchurch/Poole:
It is not always realised at NHS organisations senior management and strategic level just how great an asset for the NHS — and especially NHS credibility on LGBT+ community outreach — are our frontline NHS healthcare professionals who are LGBT+ community members (both Out and not Out as LGB or T). Their incredible record of care & professionalism needs to be properly recorded, and on a structured and regular quarterly to annual basis.
In terms of such NHS healthcare professionals the Network will be in the New Year commending for formal appropriate level recognition of Dorset Healthcare’s LGBT+ Staff Group and Pan-Dorset NHS LGBT Staff Group lead, Mr Jonai Da Silva. Jonai’s accomplishments as a mental healthcare profesional providing often literally, sometimes, life-saving support to both our sisters and brothers in our LGB & T communities, and broader LGB&T and non-LGB&T community in the Weymouth & Portland area, and beyond have been largely restricted in terms of awareness, to those whom he has supported as an exceptional NHS healthcare professional.
Such examples need to be much more effectively publicised if NHS organisations across Dorset and the Bournemouth/Christchurch/Poole area are ready to demonstrate earnestness on meaningful LGB&T communities engagement and support for our Community members (both outside, AND inside the NHS) where counteracting prejudice and indirect discrimination are concerned. The Network is ready to support NHS organisations at strategic to frontline levels in accomplishing that journey.