Protecting mental health amongst LGBT health care workers

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2015 Health Care Service Group Conference
5 December 2014

Conference notes that discrimination is bad for your health – both physical and mental. Research published by Manchester Business School in 2014 found significantly higher levels of poor mental health amongst lesbian, gay and bisexual workers than non-LGB workers. The highest levels were amongst lesbian and bisexual workers. Studies of the experiences of transgender workers have also found clear correlations.

Conference believes it is vital that mental health is recognised as a workplace issue within health care. To fail to do so damages the workforce and damages patient outcomes. Conference further believes it is vital that strategies to address workplace mental health and wellbeing acknowledge the impact of discrimination. Strategies must recognise and meet the needs of the full diversity of the workforce, including LGB and trans workers. This will include the signposting of specialist LGBT support services.

Conference is concerned that the impact of austerity on health care is felt in both increasing workplace stress and reduced morale, and also in the disappearance due to cuts of many specialist services. Further, the increasing privatisation of health care services risks the loss of established NHS best practice.

Conference calls on the national health care service group executive, in liaison with the national LGBT committee, to seek to ensure:

1) that workforce mental health and wellbeing is on the bargaining agenda with all health care employers;

2) that mental health initiatives for NHS workers pay regard to the experiences and needs of different groups of workers experiencing discrimination, including LGBT workers;

3) that the importance of specialist support is highlighted by NHS employers, alongside the importance of continuing funding for such services;

4) that best practice developed in the public sector is not lost when NHS services are privatised.