Report reveals doctor refused to treat patient without chaperone
GAY people are facing “significant barriers” to end-of-life care due to discrimination and fear of prejudice, a leading charity revealed yesterday.
Research from terminal illness support charity Marie Curie found that some LGBT people still hold “not unwarranted” fears of being singled out by healthcare workers.
In one of the case studies highlighted by the Hiding Who I Am report, a doctor refused to treat a lesbian patient without a chaperone.
Marie Curie head of policy Scott Sinclair said: “No-one should have to hide who they are at the end of their lives.
“If LGBT people are not confident about services, or have experienced discrimination from healthcare providers in the past, they may not feel able to be open about themselves and the people who are important to them — factors that are all crucial to dying well.
“Learning about the prejudice LGBT people experience as they are dying, when they are at their most vulnerable, is deeply saddening.”
A poll of over 200 LGBT people also found that 75 per cent did not trust health and social care services to provide the right end-of-life care they needed.
And a further one in four reported experiencing bigotry from social and healthcare professionals at some point in their lives.
Marie Curie warned that many gay people could therefore be delaying accessing the necessary care and experiencing unmanaged symptoms and pain at the end of their lives.
Commenting on the findings, LGBT rights group Stonewall head of policy Hannah Kibrige said: “Lesbian, gay, bi and trans people in later life often experience specific forms of discrimination that go unnoticed by others around them.
“Often older LGBT people are extremely vulnerable, particularly if in care or terminally ill, so it’s vital that healthcare staff are aware of the experiences they face. It is a great step to see Marie Curie address this in its research and we hope that the findings go on to effect practical and positive change for lesbian, gay, bi and trans people.”