Readers panel: Should all patients be asked about their sexual orientation?
NHS England guidelines recommend that health professionals ask all patients about their sexual orientation, with the aim of improving services for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) patients. Nursing Standard readers have their say
Stephanie Cumming is a practice nurse and trainee advanced nurse practitioner in Warwickshire
Awareness and understanding of a patient’s sexual orientation is important to provide holistic care. I can understand incorporating this question into data collection forms, such as new patient registrations, but GP consultations are often limited to ten minutes and there is little time for discussion unrelated to the presenting issue. It may also be inappropriate to ask all patients this question. Ultimately, it should be the individual clinician’s decision whether to ask about sexual orientation, if they deem it appropriate to the patient’s care needs.
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