Diversity to inform clinical and consumer engagement

In its pursuit of health equity for all Western Australians, WA Primary Health Alliance has recently appointed four new members to its councils and committees as advocates for LGBTIQ+ health.

This will ensure that sex, sexuality and gender diverse health matters form part of the councils and committees’ core business and contribute to improving the primary health care access issues faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer and other sexuality, gender, and bodily diverse people and communities.

Compared with the general Australian population, a disproportionate number of LGBTIQ+ people experience poorer physical and mental health outcomes as well as discrimination, harassment and hostility in many parts of everyday life.

Dr Andrew Wenzel, who joined the Great Southern Regional Clinical Committee, is the manager of headspace Albany and co-founder of Albany Pride.

As someone with a passion for LGBTIQ+ health and mental health, he is excited for the opportunity to improve access to services, particularly in regional areas.

“I think it would be great if as a result of this we could see an easy pathway for primary health providers to identify where they can get the training and resources to make their own practices and premises LGBTIQ+ inclusive,” he said.

“I want to see our regional communities become more inclusive of all people.”

The inclusion of LGBTIQ+ health within the seven priority pillars for Primary Health Networks – population health, Aboriginal health, aged care, alcohol and other drugs, digital health, health workforce and mental health, – indicates a commitment from WA Primary Health Alliance to improve access to important community based treatment and support services.

This is also aligned with the Rainbow Tick accreditation WA Primary Health Alliance achieved earlier this year, the first PHN to do so nationally. This involved meeting six national standards of LGBTIQ+ inclusive practice, meaning the organisation had reached a high standard of inclusive practice and is recognised as a safe and affirming employer for LGBTIQ+ people.

WA Primary Health Alliance Stakeholder Engagement Manager, Jane Harwood, said given its vision of better health, together WAPHA has an important leadership role to advocate for safe, inclusive and culturally appropriate services for people with diverse bodies, identities and experiences.

“I warmly welcome the four new members to our councils and committees who will contribute lived, clinical and consumer experience, add insight and wisdom to meetings,” she said.

The four appointments are Dr Belinda Wozencroft to Perth North Metropolitan Clinical Council, Sandra Norman to Perth North Metropolitan Community Advisory Council, Dr Andrew Wenzel to Great Southern Regional Clinical Committee and Bella Broadway to Perth South Metropolitan Community Advisory Council.