Here you can read the reports from our Health and Inclusion Project consultation work:
Switchboard was comissioned by Healthwatch Brighton and Hove to engage LGBTQ+ communities in Brighton and Hove and explore their experiences of using health and social care services. We also asked them how existing feedback systems could be improved and what prevents them from feeding back about health and social care to the Care Quality Commission (CQC). We held focus groups and 1-1 interviews and have published a report with recommendations which can be found here.
The full Healthwatch report with recommendations can be found here.
Switchboard was commissioned by Brighton & Hove City Council and Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to explore the impact of the pandemic on LGBTQ communities in order to inform and influence priorities in the ‘recovery period’.
The report shows that Covid-19 has exacerbated existing health inequalities across issues such as mental health, trans health and housing, as well as the lack of LGBTQ affirming support. They found the most marginalised of LGBTQ people have struggled the most. This includes young people, people of colour and trans and/or non-binary people.
The results are taken from a survey with 595 responses covering areas such as mental health, housing, sexual health and uptake of vaccinations. This was followed by focus groups exploring issues more in-depth. From this they found:
- 74% of respondents felt depressed, with 68% of 18-24 year olds and 41% of people of colour considering suicide
- 60% of those under 24 and 40% of trans and/or non-binary people were living in an unsafe living situation
- 68% of LGBTQ people felt lonely or isolated
In spite of these uncomfortable findings, the survey highlighted the resilience of LGBTQ communities and the care and concern for others in LGBTQ communities.
- 35% paid closer attention to their mental health
- 34% spent more quality time with their household
Respondents called for:
- Increased access to timely LGBTQ affirmative mental health support
- Access to safe housing for those in insecure living situations experiencing homo/bi/transphobia and domestic abuse.
- Access to improved healthcare for trans and/or non-binary people
- Support and creativity around LGBTQ specific social spaces recognising their protective factor in people’s health and wellbeing
- Access to LGBTQ affirmative support around grief, relationships, ageing and disability
Spring 2019 – LGBTQ+ Access to NHS Urgent Care
Urgent Care is defined as care accessed when you need physical or mental health help the same day, but it is not a 999 or A&E emergency. It can help you when your regular GP practice is closed and you need same-day medical help.
This report presents data from an online survey of perceptions and experiences of NHS urgent care service use among LGBTQ+ people who live, work, study or socialise in Brighton and Hove. The aim was to identify the needs of LGBTQ+ communities in accessing Urgent Care and to provide recommendations regarding steps that can be taken to meet these needs in service planning and delivery. The engagement found both strengths and areas for improvement, as well as highlighting the additional stresses inherent to the Urgent Care setting that can particularly impact on LGBTQ+ inclusion.
Spring 2019 – LGBTQ+ Community Steering Group
The Steering Group project is a way of Switchboard working with local LGBTQ+ people in partnership to identify the strengths and challenges in Switchboard and our local communities to work together towards better lives for local LGBTQ+ people.
Once established, it is our aim that the Steering Group will be a robust resource for directly engaging and consulting a committed group of individuals with intersectional experiences on health and inclusion matters.
The group is designed to provide a mechanism that guarantees a minimum level of engagement and inclusion to build upon, by way of safeguarding places in the group for people from under-represented communities including, but not limited to, BAME/PoC.
Autumn 2018 – LGBTQI+ People of Faith: Prejudice & Community Cohesion in Brighton & Hove
This engagement project explored experiences of prejudice, community cohesion and access to support at the intersection of LGBTQI+ identity and faith in Brighton and Hove. Using survey and focus group methods, we consulted with a total of 73 individuals from this intersectional population about the key challenges and opportunities they faced, both as LGBTQI+ people in their faith communities and as people of faith in their LGBTQI+ communities.
“Personally my faith is as an integral part of me as my gender identity. Sometimes I have felt as though I must choose between the two which result in […] poor mental health. It is a constant struggle to align the two” – Survey Respondent
Summer 2018 – Intersectionality: Race/Ethnicity and LGBTQ People in Brighton and Hove
Switchboard and the Trust for Developing Communities worked in partnership to explore the intersection between Brighton & Hove’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer (LGBTQ) communities, and Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) and/or People of Colour (PoC) communities.
Summer 2018 – LGBTQ+ D/deaf and hard of hearing access to healthcare
Brighton and Hove City Council commissioned Switchboard to engage the local D/deaf and hard of hearing LGBTQ+ communities around inclusion needs and experiences when accessing healthcare. The engagement was carried out across July to September 2018 using online survey and one-to-one interview methods.
Recommendations from the survey included; LGBTQ+ and D/deaf and hard of hearing awareness training for frontline healthcare staff, introductory BSL training, prioritising intersectional inclusion in patient participation groups, and to ensure Deaf inclusion is built into service planning, including ring-fencing budget for BSL interpretation.
Spring 2018 – Ageing Well in LGBTQ Communities
Switchboard are co-authors of this report by MindOut which looks at the experiences of older LGBTQ people and their mental health.
For some time, older LGBTQ people have been telling us that their needs are not well met by mainstream services, which are often not seen as safe, appropriate or affirmative. More research and planning is required to ensure that the wellbeing of LGBTQ 50+ people is properly considered and provided for.
Spring 2018 – LGBTQ People Affected by Dementia
From April – July 2018, Brighton & Hove Clinical Commissioning Group commissioned Switchboard to engage Brighton & Hove and Sussex-based lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer (LGBTQ) people affected by dementia and memory loss – including carers, partners and other loved ones – around experiences accessing dementia care and support. We learned that there are many barriers for accessing health and social care support for LGBTQ communities at each level of an individual’s journey with dementia – from recognising the signs, to obtaining a diagnosis, to receiving ongoing appropriate care and support. Social isolation, intersecting forms of marginalisation and low-LGBTQ-awareness among service staff were identified as central issues in creating barriers for LGBTQ communities.
Key of areas of strength to build upon were also identified – particularly LGBTQ identity as a source of community, belonging and the potential for stronger peer LGBTQ community support. We have made a number of recommendations on how the current situation can be improved, and the contribution Switchboard is making, based on findings from two online surveys with the community and health and social care providers, which can be explored in the report, below.
Spring 2018 – LGBTQ People Affected by Cancer
Macmillan Cancer Support commissioned Switchboard to conduct a series of consultation and engagement activities with Brighton & Hove and Sussex-based lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer (LGBTQ) people affected by cancer, and those supporting them. This engagement work is being used to inform how LGBTQ people affected by cancer can be best supported; and to identify areas where improvements to patient experience can be made through Macmillan and in collaboration.
Spring 2018 – Sexual Orientation, Gender & Trans Status Monitoring
Switchboard consulted with healthcare providers and the LGBTQ community about monitoring sexual orientation, gender and trans status. We held one-to-one meetings with several GP Practice Managers and conducted an online survey for primary and secondary healthcare providers, including clinical and non-clinical staff, across Brighton and Hove. We also conducted a focus group and an online survey engaging the Brighton and Hove LGBTQ community.
Spring 2018 – LGBTQ Migrants Refugees and Asylum Seekers Pathways and Support
Switchboard asked about pathways and access to support in Brighton & Hove among LGBTQ people who are asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants. We worked closely with MindOut in developing the scope and carrying out the research. Activities consisted of reviewing literature; discussions with frontline workers, service managers, and an immigration lawyer; a cross-sector forum attended by 6 support workers, campaigners, and advocates; an online survey of 15 professionals; and a written consultation with 3 LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers.
The report highlighted intersectional differences among LGBTQ migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers, multi-layered and complex support needs, the importance of LGBTQ services and addresses the remaining barriers to support for these communities.
Summer 2017 – LGBTQ experiences of Medicines and Pharmacies
From July-August 2017 Switchboard surveyed 82 people in Brighton and Hove on their experiences of medicines and pharmacies. In particular the survey looked at access to medicines with a high prevalence in LGBTQ communities, such as hormone treatment, PEP and PrEP.
We found that there was generally a high awareness of PrEP and PEP from the LGBTQ community, in particular by MSM (men who have sex with men). However, that there is more work to be done on ensuring that the work done to promote PrEP and PEP is representative of the entire LGBTQ community, and in particular transgender people.
Access to hormones for trans, non-binary and gender variant people was highlighted as a particular concern with over half of respondents obtaining hormones prior to their first appointment at a gender identity clinic, and nearly half of those choosing to self-medicate by buying hormones online or through an unregulated source. In addition, the support received from GPs by trans patients was not consistent with only 50% of those taking hormones/blockers having their hormone levels monitored.
Overall the number of people who said they’d experienced challenges accessing services and advice as an LGBTQ person was low, however there did appear to be a lack of understanding from healthcare staff on LGBTQ people’s health needs, and a lack of long term care – in particular for trans people. There was also a clear disparity in satisfaction amongst transgender and bisexual people, who made up the majority of the negative experiences that were left in the open text comments. This suggests more work needs to be done in raising awareness of the needs of transgender, non-binary and bisexual people – and that any LGBTQ awareness training undertaken by healthcare staff should include a focus on these groups.
Spring 2017- LGBTQ Healthy Eating and Active Living
We found that a third of LGBTQ people experience barriers to physical activity that relate to their LGBTQ identities. These barriers appear to influence a lower rate of physical activity in Brighton & Hove for LGBTQ people, and trans/non-binary/genderqueer people in particular. Increased LGBTQ awareness, activities and facilities would challenge many of these barriers. About a quarter of survey participants experience food poverty and meal reductions and will struggle to afford healthier options and basic living costs. Healthy options at more affordable prices would help many people, as would increased knowledge of how to prepare healthier foods.
Winter 2016- LGBTQ Experiences of NHS Complaints and Feedback
Switchboard conducted an online survey and one-to-one interviews with LGBTQ people in Brighton and Hove on the opinions and experiences of providing feedback, raising concerns and making complaints about NHS services in Brighton and Hove. We found that there is confusion around the different ways that people can feed back to the NHS and there was a lack of confidence that the process would provide a satisfactory resolution.
Autumn 2016- LGBTQ Kitemark Consultation
Switchboard conducted a consultation with LGBTQ communities in Brighton and Hove about the development of an LGBTQ Kitemark Scheme. The consultation is part of a wider project in partnership with the Trans Alliance and aims to develop a city-wide quality assurance kitemark scheme to improve access to, and confidence in statutory and private sector services for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people in Brighton and Hove.
Summer 2016- LGBTQ Communities and the Wellbeing Service
Switchboard conducted a consultation into how LGBTQ people and LGBTQ community groups experience the Wellbeing Service. We found that community-based wellbeing services are important to people accessing services. We also found that LGBTQ people would like to be able to tell if services are LGBTQ-competent before they access the service.
Spring 2016 – LGBTQ Smoking and Lung Cancer Consultation
Switchboard conducted a survey and focus group to explore issues around smoking and lung cancer awareness in the LGBTQ community. Many participants felt that LGBTQ people may face additional social pressures which can increase rates of smoking in the community and make it harder for LGBTQ people to quit. Support from friends and the wider community was seen as a key factor in supporting LGBTQ people to give up smoking and our recommendations include the provision of greater community-based and peer support services.
Winter 2015 – Trans* People’s Experiences of Hospital Care
Switchboard conducted a survey into trans people’s experiences of hospital care. The report identified a number of key areas in which trans people faced significant challenges where accessing care. Notably, many respondents told us that when they had recently accessed hospital care, they had not been asked for their preferred name or pronoun. This is particularly important in the context of other findings – that many trans patients had been misgendered, and that many trans patients were concerned about experiencing a lack of understanding from hospital staff.
Right Here have also conducted a similar consultation into young trans men’s experiences of hospital care, and we’ve worked with them to produce a set of joint recommendations for the local NHS to improve trans patients’ experiences. The full report below includes these joint recommendations.
Summer 2015 – Trans* Drug and Alcohol Support Survey
A Switchboard volunteer recently undertook a survey, in partnership with Pavilions, to assess Trans people’s views on and experiences of Drug and Alcohol services in the city. The report scopes some important issues to be considered in the development of future Drug and Alcohol services for Trans people.
Summer 2015 – LGBTQ People’s views on Changes to Primary Care
In Summer 2015 we conducted a survey into LGBTQ people’s views on changes to Primary Care. The NHS is looking at changing the way people access healthcare, and the way healthcare services work together, and it’s important that LGBTQ people’s needs are taken into consideration when those changes are taking place.
Much recent research (including our own) has shown that LGBTQ people often face considerable barriers in accessing healthcare due to a lack of LGBTQ awareness, a lack of suitable service as well as prejudice and discrimination.
The responses to our consultation reaffirmed the impact these factors have on LGBTQ people’s access to healthcare, with key findings including:
• A continued demand for LGBTQ specific services.
• Many LGBTQ people’s relationship with specific GPs and core practitioners is very important, even fundamental to their health and wellbeing.
• A lack of confidence in voluntary workers in regards to levels of competence and standards of LGBTQ awareness.
LGBTQ People’s Views on Changes to Primary Care
June 2015 – LGBTQ & Friends Event for LGBTQ people with Learning Disabilities
Switchboard has continued to liaise with Brighton & Hove SpeakOut, an organisation for people with Learning Disabilities in Brighton & Hove, and held an event for LGBTQ people with Learning Disabilities on Thursday 18th June 2015 to find out more about people’s experiences and to raise awareness of LGBTQ services in the city.
LGBTQ & Friends Event for LGBTQ People
Spring 2015 – LGBT People’s views on NHS Health Checks
In Spring 2015 we conducted a survey into LGBTQ people’s views on NHS Health Checks and had loads of great responses. Amongst other things, we found that it’s important to address LGBTQ people in the wider community, but that there’s work to be done on developing health professionals’ LGBTQ awareness and understanding.
Thanks to everyone who took part! Your responses helped us to put together a picture of how the NHS can engage and include the LGBTQ community in NHS health checks in Brighton & Hove. We’ve put all of that information into a report which we’ve fed back to the local NHS CCG which you can find below.
February 2015 – Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer Women’s Health
Switchboard recently surveyed 152 lesbian, bisexual and queer women in Brighton & Hove about health needs and experiences. The study looks at physical health, mental health, sexual health, use of substances and cancer screening.
65% of women said that they were ‘out’ about their sexual orientation to their GP. This is higher than the national findings from Stonewall (2007) which found that half of lesbians were not out to their GP. However, bisexual respondents were more than twice as likely than the overall sample respondents to say that they were not out.
Another key finding highlighted in the research was around LBQ women’s relationships with food. Only 7% of respondents indicated that they are not worried about what they eat. Thirty-four per cent of respondents indicated that they worry about what they eat whilst the majority of respondents reported a more problematic relationship with food ranging from obsessive thoughts about food to identifying as having an eating disorder.
December 2014 – LGBTQ identity and Learning Disabilities Round Table Report
In December 2014 Switchboard held a Round-table event looking into LGBTQ identity and Learning Disabilities, inviting LGBTQ people with Learning Disabilities and workers from the LGBTQ sector and Learning Disabilities sector to explore challenges faced by LGBTQ people with LD and for workers supporting them.
Autumn 2014 – LGBTQ People’s views on Patient Record Sharing
In Autumn 2014, Switchboard conducted a survey into patient record sharing, to ensure that LGBTQ voices would be heard by the Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group, regarding the changes being made to ways in which patient data is stored and shared between health professionals.
June 2014 – Better Care LGBTQ Focus Groups
In June 2014 Switchboard convened two focus groups for local LGBTQ people in order to explore the views and perceptions of LGBTQ people about the Better Care: integrated care plan – an integration of health and council services in the city including care in the community.
May 2014 – Consultation on LGBTQ BME People’s Forum – Meeting Note
Switchboard conducted a two-hour meeting to explore the set up of a forum for LGBTQ people from Black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds. Some useful feedback and intelligence was gathered; the key finding was that there was support for the development of a forum but this needed to be ‘owned’ and driven by LGBTQ BME people with support for sustainability.
April 2014 – Five Ways to Wellbeing LGBT People’s Focus Groups
Switchboard was asked by Brighton and Hove NHS Clinical Commissioning Group to consult with LGBTQ people about the development of a mental health wellbeing strategy for the city. We conducted two focus groups with local LGBTQ people. Participants reviewed concepts of mental health wellbeing and the need for the underlying approach informing the strategy – the ‘five ways to wellbeing‘ – to be adapted to recognise the impact of inequality and exclusion on the wellbeing of LGBTQ people.
March 2014 – Consultation with LGBT Disabled People in Brighton and Hove
Switchboard worked in partnership with The Fed Centre for Independent Living to convene consultation meetings with local LGBTQ disabled people. The meetings explored the experiences of participants and identified reports of discrimination and exclusion within the local LGBTQ ‘scene’ and in ‘mainstream’ society. There was support for the development of an LGBTQ disabled people’s group in the city but this needed to be developed as a sustainable resource requiring community development. Interim recommendations are made about supporting the initiative while discussions continue about ways to take the initiative forward.
March 2014 – LGBT Carer’s Consultation in Brighton and Hove
Switchboard worked in partnership with the Carer’s Centre to convene a consultation meeting with local LGBTQ carers. The main conclusion was that many of the difficulties and issues that participants faced were held in common with other carers. However, there was an additional concern that when accessing support, advice or services, this should be LGBTQ aware and able to respond to the concerns that carers (and their partners where relevant) had as LGBTQ people. Recommendations address the need for continued outreach to LGBTQ carers to inform them about the support and resources available.
December 2013 – Development Needs of the Local LGBTQ Third Sector
Switchboard carried out two separate consultation events on the Transforming Local Infrastructure Project and Brighton and Hove City Council’s development of a new policy on support for the community and voluntary sector in the city. This report combines findings from both exercises to make a series of recommendations regarding the needs of the LGBTQ community and voluntary sector for community development, infrastructure support and community consultation and engagement.
December 2013 – Participation, Visibility & Inclusion: The Involvement of LGBTQ Community & Voluntary Groups in Brighton and Hove LGBT Pride 2013
Switchboard hosted a two-hour consultation meeting for local LGBTQ and HIV community and voluntary groups about their participation in Brighton and Hove LGBT Pride 2013. Twenty-three individuals representing 15 local organisations took part. The report identifies a number of reported successes as well as areas for development and makes a series of recommendations.
Switchboard carried out a survey of local LGBTQ people on their awareness and use of NHS urgent care services. 94 people took part. The survey showed that awareness of the full range of urgent care services was variable and that while there were positive accounts and support for NHS staff working in circumstances perceived to be difficult, there was also room for improvement, particularly in the area in respectful care. The need for LGBTQ awareness training for staff emerged as a key recommendation.
August 2013 – Online Survey of Suicidal Distress
Switchboard carried out an online survey of the perceptions and experiences of local LGBTQ people concerning the issue of suicidal distress. 205 people responded. The findings report upon respondent’s experiences of suicidal distress, perceptions of the priority of the issue, barriers to tackling the problem and proposed solutions. A series of recommendations are offered, chiefly the need for a local LGBTQ suicide prevention strategy.
March 2013 – LGBTQ Older People’s Roundtable Report
Switchboard carried out a consultation with local stakeholders about the need to set up a group or forum for older LGBTQ people in the city. The overwhelming response was that a group was needed and that this should be set up and ‘owned’ by the local LGBTQ community. Recommendations are offered for taking the initiative forward.
July 2012 – Sexual Health Resources for Local Bisexual People
Switchboard carried out consultation with bisexual people at the 2011 BiCon (national conference for bisexual people) on the sexual health information resources available. The exercise indicated that participants wanted information that was accessible and relevant to them as bisexual people as a ‘one-stop-shop’ resource. Recommendations are offered for the NHS for the development of local materials.
June 2012 – Clued Up!
Switchboard worked with the Claude Nicol Clinic and a local cancer prevention health adviser to develop an intervention called Clued Up. This aimed to enable trans people to learn more about the primary sexual health clinic in Brighton and Hove and to feel more confident about using sexual health services independently in future. It also provided an opportunity for the clinic to consult with trans people about ways to make clinic services more accessible. This report describes the intervention and the work to evaluate its impact.
February 2012 – Neighbourhood Councils and Equality and Inclusion Policy Consultations.
Switchboard was commissioned by Brighton and Hove City Council to carry out two consultations on proposals to set up Neighbourhood Councils and on its Equality and Inclusion Policy. There was a great response from local LGBTQ people who participated in two discussion sessions. In addition, the LGBTQ HIP Consortium took part in two round-table sessions. These reports discuss the consultation and the conclusions generated, making a series of recommendations for the Council.