A survey of over two million people has found that lesbian, gay and bisexual men and women in England are more likely to report poor health and unfavourable experiences of the National Health Service than their heterosexual counterparts.
Researchers from the Cambridge Centre for Health Services Research, with Harvard Medical School, analysed data from over two million respondents to the 2009/2010 English General Practice Patient Survey. The respondents included more than 27,000 people who described themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, making it one of the largest surveys of the healthcare of sexual minorities carried out anywhere.
Sexual minorities were two to three times more likely to report having a longstanding psychological or emotional problem than their heterosexual counterparts. Nearly 11% of gay men and 15% of bisexual men reported such a problem, compared with 5% of heterosexual men; similarly, just over 12% of lesbian women and almost 19% of bisexual women reported problems compared with 6% of heterosexual women.
Lesbian, gay and bisexual men and women were also up to 50% more likely than heterosexuals to report negative experiences with primary care services, including trust and confidence with their GP, communication with both doctors and nurses, and overall satisfaction.
Professor Martin Roland, Director of CCHSR, said: “The survey shows that sexual minorities suffer both poorer health and have worse experiences when they see their GP. We need to ensure both that doctors recognise the needs of sexual minorities, and also that sexual minorities have the same experience of care as other patients.”