Parliamentary Question – HSE services available to LGBT individuals groups

27/06/2012

To ask the Minister for Health the level of funding and support available through his Department or the Health Service Executive for homosexual and transgender individuals or groups; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Reply: 
Dear Deputy Farrell,
In 2011 the amount of HSE funding attributed to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Organisations totalled some €1.2 Million.
It should be noted that all services provided through the HSE e.g. Mental Health, Acute Hospital Services, Primary Care Services and General Practitioners are available to and utilised by the LGBT Community throughout the Country. The HSE does not keep statistics of the sexual orientation of people using their services. However current statistics estimate the LGBT population in Ireland as between 6% –10% of the community. Thus it is reasonable to expect that 6% – 10% of HSE service users are from the LGBT population.
The HSE mapping document (“LGBT Health: Towards Meeting the Health Care Needs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People” available at http://www.hse.ie/eng/services/Publications/topics/Sexual/LGBT_Health.pdf) outlines the range of services part-funded or fully funded throughout the country. This report made a number of recommendations which are currently being implemented as well as identifying what existing supports, policy and practice were place in the health services regarding LGBT health. The following are some examples of work currently funded which have a national remit:
           Gay Men’s Health Service
           GLEN – Mental Health (Director of Mental Health – part-funded through The National Office of Suicide Prevention/ HSE Health promotion)
           The HSE supported the following key pieces of national research- LGBT Lives (mental health study), Visible lives (Older people’s study) (see www.glen.ie)
           Belong to- some posts part-funded through the National Office of Suicide Prevention.
           LGBT training programme- Palliative and Oncological Care (Developed by ST. Vincent’s Hospital).
Good practice guidelines were also produced, “Working with LBGT people, good practice guidelines” (available at: http://www.glen.ie/attachments/LGB_sexual_health_guide.PDF) and circulated throughout the Health Services and NGO sector.
In September 2010 the HSE established a LGBT Health Advisory Committee which comprises membership from relevant HSE and LGBT NGO sector professionals. The purpose of the committee is to:
  • To advise, make recommendations and support the development of a strategy and action plan on LGBT health that is aligned with the reform process of the HSE with timeframes, targets, resources and outcomes clearly identified and monitored. 
  • To ensure relevant sectors/ networks/ services input into the development of the strategy and action plan.
  • To ensure relevant sectors/ networks/ services are given feedback on the development of an LGBT strategy and action plan.
  • To support the provision of regular updates on progress to the National SI Specialist meeting
  • To review the work of the advisory committee after a period of one year.
The objectives of the strategy are to:
– enhance LGBT people’s experiences and outcomes in health service.
– produce a comprehensive list of detailed recommendations as to how LGBT health needs can be best met in the Irish Healthcare system
            – Identify pragmatic actions which can be built into current service provision
            – Identify areas where more targeted, specialised approaches are required.
A draft strategy is currently being finalised and will be circulated for consultation with key stakeholders in the HSE, DOHC and LGBT NGO sector in September 2012
A number of key actions will be supported in the following areas: Transgender health, Lesbian Health and Mental Health. A call for applications to support the implementation of actions in the LGBT strategy and action plan will take place at the end of 2012.
For the Deputy’s information a separate Transgender Health working group was established in 2012 to specifically address a number of key health issues of this population group. Key actions to be undertaken by the group include:
– Develop a transgender health strategy and action plan which sets out a strategic approach to best practice health provision to the transgender community.
– Undertake a baseline survey of health service clinicians and service providers who have experience and knowledge of working with the Transgender Community
– Deliver targeted training to health service clinicians/service providers on transgender issues.
– Develop of a list of service providers who are “transgender-sensitive” which can be made available to the transgender community e.g. psychologists, counsellors, psychiatrists, GP’s, OT’s etc. (following from the baseline survey and training
Finally, a paper was developed through the National Office for Social Inclusion and the above LGBT steering committee (with advice through GLEN) on the implications of the Civil Partnership Act for the HSE.