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Gay patients have ‘poor’ primary care experiences

8 September 2014

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Lesbian, gay and bisexual men and women are more than 50% more likely to have negative experiences with primary care services, research has shown.

By analysing over two million responses to the General practice Patient Survey, researchers from the Cambridge Centre for Health Services Research found that LGB patients were more likely to report lack of trust and confidence in their GP, poor communication with doctors and nurses and poor overall satisfaction. 

Previous studies have shown that LGB people are more likely to suffer poor health, particularly depression and anxiety, when compared to the general population. 

Sexual minorities are two or three times more likely to report longstanding psychological or emotional problems than their heterosexual counterparts. 

Close to 11% of gay men and 15% of bisexual men reported such a problem, compared with 5% of heterosexual men. 

Just over 12% of lesbian women and 19% of bisexual women reported problems compared with 6% of heterosexual women. 

LGB people were also more likely to report “fair” or “poor” general health: 22% of gay men, 26% of bisexual men compared to 20% of heterosexual men. 

In women, 25% of lesbians reported poor health, as did 31% of bisexual women, compared to 21% of heterosexual women. 

The researchers, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, write: “Adjusted for sociodemographic characteristics and health status, sexual minorities were about one and one half times more likely than heterosexual people to report unfavourable experiences with each of the four aspects of primary care. 

“Sexual minorities suffer both poorer health and worse healthcare experiences. Efforts should be made to recognise the needs and improve the experiences of sexual minorities.” 

The study is available in full online