As the first organisation of its kind in Australia to achieve Rainbow Tick accreditation, WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) is now establishing an LGBTIQ+ Stakeholder Reference Group to inform, guide and support its work.
In 2019 WAPHA achieved Rainbow Tick accreditation, demonstrating a commitment to ensuring people of diverse sex, sexuality and/or gender have access to safe, inclusive and culturally appropriate primary health care.
WAPHA is now calling for expressions of interest from experts in the field of LGBTIQ+ health service delivery and people with lived experience to provide insight that will improve and strengthen WAPHA’s inclusive practice and influence the practice of stakeholders.
According to the National LGBTI Alliance, although many LGBTIQ+ Australians live healthy and happy lives, research has shown that a disproportionate number have significantly worse mental and physical health outcomes when compared to the wider community.
WAPHA’s General Manager Strategy and Engagement, Chris Kane said this evidence is important to understand from a healthcare perspective because it demonstrates the risk of adverse impact on health and mental health and the barriers to accessing health and social care services.
“We need to be vigilant in our ongoing commitment to ensuring safe and inclusive care for all people, regardless of their sexuality or gender identity,” she said.
“From the moment you book an appointment to when you finish your course of treatment, every phone call, form to be filled, and conversation with health professionals and support staff needs to be welcoming, appropriate and inclusive.”
WAPHA is also guided by its work as part of the WA LGBTI Health Strategy 2019-2024 Reference Group, whose survey confirmed LGBTIQ+ people want to be treated as ‘substantively equal’ to their heterosexual counterparts and they seek health providers who are inclusive, non-judgemental and informed about issues related to their health.
To overcome a scarcity and inconsistency of data on LGBTIQ+ health trends, along with its funded service providers, WAPHA has improved the way it captures data on service provision and outcomes for people of diverse sex, sexuality and/or gender.
“More widely, we’ve sought to influence data sets to include sexual orientation and gender identity and made it clear that the collection, analysis and interpretation of data and trends should be formulated in consultation with LGBTIQ+ communities to avoid inadvertently causing additional stigmatisation,” Ms Kane said.
“We also recognise the leadership role we have as an advocate for LGBTIQ+ pride, diversity and inclusion across WA’s primary and social care sectors, and among our own.”
If you identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans/transgender, intersex, and/or sexuality, gender, and bodily diverse; or are a primary care clinician or an allied health professional working with LGBTIQ+ people; and are interested in being part of this group, visit: https://phexchange.wapha.org.au/eoi