LGBT training should be mandatory for nurses, say MPs

Staff need be taught how to better support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) patients.

Matt Bodell
24 October 2019
nurse working at desk

A single poor experience can undermine confidence in a patients future interactions with health and social care services.

Nurses need be taught how to better support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) patients, say a group of MPs.

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A report published earlier this week by the Parliamentary Women and Equalities Committee revealed that while members of the LGBT community are often less healthy they often receive lower standards of care.

MPs concluded that this was because “health and social care professionals do not always understand the needs that LGBT people have, and often do not consider these needs to be relevant to their care.”

The report reads; “Every witness that we heard from in this inquiry emphasised the need for frontline staff to better understand the lives and needs of LGBT people under their care.

“Whether in mental health, cancer care or social care, the need for a “person-centred” approach was highlighted again and again.

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“While outright discrimination may be relatively rare, a single poor experience can undermine confidence in an LGBT person’s future interactions with other health and social care services.

‘Truly person-centred care’.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) Code of Conduct is cited within the document, backing up cals for LGBT training to be given to all staff.

It states that registrants should; “provide and promote non-discriminatory, person centred and sensitive care at all times, reflecting on people’s values and beliefs, diverse backgrounds, cultural characteristics, language requirements, needs and preferences, taking account of any need for adjustments”.

Dr Geraldine Walters, Director of Education and Standards at the Nursing and Midwifery Council, welcomed the report, she said “As the largest professional regulator in the UK, we are committed to using our influence to support improvements in practice in equality, diversity and inclusion across the health and care sector”.

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“Knowledge of equality, diversity, and human rights is enshrined in our new standards of proficiency, which all of our registrants are required to demonstrate in order to access our register.

“We will continue to work with our approved education institutions to ensure nurses, midwives and nursing associates develop the knowledge and skills necessary to deliver truly person-centred care to everyone”.

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