Back in March, the Rural GP Association of Scotland (RGPAS) launched a range of guidance designed to make rural practice in Scotland more accessible to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBTQ+) patients.
At the annual RGPAS Conference last year, held in Inverness, we were delighted to welcome Dr Thom O’Neill to talk about LGBTQ+ inequalities in rural areas, and some of the practical ways that as GPs we can reduce barriers to healthcare.
Thom’s presentation stimulated a lot of discussion, and led to a project whereby he worked with RGPAS to develop factsheets, posters and other materials to help rural GP practices ensure that their services are welcoming to LGBTQ+ patients – especially younger patients.
We are aware that since then a number of GP practices have had discussions in their teams about how to make their health services more LGBTQ+ accessible. We’ve also had a number of international enquiries about this work – including from Canada, New Zealand and Australia – who have been keen to use this work to increase awareness.
Thom has also been asked to adapt the factsheets for secondary care use in some parts of Scotland too. So, as expected, the theme seems to have resonated with a wide number of clinicians and service managers.
Thom and David recently caught up to discuss how these guidelines came about, and to explore some of the themes of why LGBTQ+ patients seem to face specific inequalities of access to health care – and how rural practice has some unique opportunities to improve this. We hope to have Thom back to this year’s RGPAS Conference (2-4 November, once again in Inverness – details soon) for an update on what how this work has been developing.
You can listen to the podcast here:
In the podcast above, we make reference to the work of Alex Bertie about recording his experience of seeking help and assistance with gender dysphoria. Alex’s videos make for some insightful and compelling viewing, but this one is specifically about his thoughts about the GP consultation – and the difference that a more supportive and informed consultation can make particularly at a challenging and difficult time.