Responding to a report by Marie Curie on end of life care for LGBT patients, Dr Catherine Millington-Sanders, RCGP and Marie Curie Clinical Lead for End of Life Care, said:
“With our patients now living longer than ever, and routinely presenting with multiple health issues, it is imperative that all our patients – LGBT patients included – receive high quality care as they approach the end of their lives, when people and their families are often at their most vulnerable.
“GPs are highly trained to treat the whole person, and LGBT patients should feel assured that they will receive high quality palliative care to suit their needs, when they need it.
“But as this report shows, a concerning number of LGBT patients are not accessing the appropriate healthcare services as they near the end of their life for fear of discrimination – this unintended consequence is important as it means they are at risk of unmanaged symptoms and reduced ability to get the holistic care all patients and families deserve.
“We need to address this as a matter of urgency and ensure that all our patients feel comfortable accessing healthcare, and getting the message out that when they do, their holistic needs will acknowledged and treated in a sensitive and non-judgemental way. To ensure we can continue to provide the best possible care, we also desperately need more investment and resources for end of life care services in the community.
“NHS England’s recent GP Forward View provides a lifeline for general practice, and we hope that some of the new funding that has been promised will be put towards improving the care provided to our patients nearing or at the end of their life.
“The College has worked with Marie Curie to develop a toolkit to support GPs and other healthcare professionals to deliver the best possible palliative and end of life care for patients.”
RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7574/7575/7633
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659
Notes to editor
The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 50,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.