Make LGBT-awareness training mandatory for nurses, MPs say

Health and social care staff are often unable to tailor care to individuals’ needs – report

Health and social care staff are often unable to tailor care to individuals’ needs – report

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Training in nursing issues specific to lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans (LGBT) patients should be compulsory, believes a group of MPs.

Members of the Commons women and equalities committee claim LGBT people are being let down by a lack of training for front-line nursing and other staff.

Inclusion training ‘should be integral’ to professional education

Their new report states LGBT-awareness training for healthcare staff should be made mandatory and integral to professional education.

The report describes the poor healthcare experience of LGBT people, largely stemming from 'misunderstanding and ignorance', but featuring outright discrimination too. 

What LGBT patients told MPs

  • One trans man said he felt unsafe in an NHS hospital after hearing staff use transphobic and homophobic language: '… stuff like nurses talking about killing gay people.’ 
  • A gay woman described an assumption made by clinical staff about her sexual practices: 'I went for a smear test and when I mentioned sexuality the nurse basically stopped the test and said, "you don’t need it".’ 

Source: Health and Social Care and LGBT Communities report


There’s goodwill among staff, but progress is still needed

Committee chair and Conservative MP Maria Miller said the will is there in health and social care to ensure services are inclusive, and while there is good practice, more needs to be done.

Geraldine Walters, NMC ​​​​​director
of education

NMC director of education and standards Geraldine Walters, said every registrant is expected to meet the regulator’s equality and diversity standards. She said the NMC works with education providers to ensure nurses know how to offer care that is tailored to the individual.

‘Knowledge of equality, diversity, and human rights is enshrined in our new proficiency standards,’ she added.

RCN diversity and equalities co-ordinator Wendy Irwin is quoted as telling the MPs nursing students had spoken to her about feeling ill-prepared for the ‘reality of meeting patients who are complex, living-and-breathing human beings’.

Further information

Read the report

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