Sexual Orientation

Sexual orientation

The government estimates that between 5 per cent and 7 per cent of the population are lesbian, gay or bisexual. The East Riding of Yorkshire CCG knows that many lesbian, gay and bisexual people have experienced poor treatment when they’ve accessed healthcare in the past and we want to make sure that the services we commission are providing the best possible healthcare for lesbian, gay and bisexual people and their families.

If you are lesbian, gay or bisexual take a look at the information below about ways you can look after your health.

Person stood with sun behind them

Telephone befriending to help battle loneliness among LGBT+ older people 

Re-engage, the charity dedicated to combating loneliness and social isolation, has launched a free telephone befriending service for older LGBT+ people. The service is specifically for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender + people aged 75 and over who would like to speak to someone who’s also LGBT+. The same volunteer will phone each week to provide much needed friendship and conversation.

If you would like to be matched with one of our friendly rainbow call companions, or know someone aged 75 and over from the LGBT+ community who could benefit from a weekly chat, call 0800 716 543 (freephone) or email 

Cervical Screening in LGB women

Lesbians and bisexual women are twice as likely as women in general to have never had cervical screening. There is a myth that lesbians don’t need to have cervical screening – this is not true. More information can be found here.

The NHS Cervical Screening Programme

The NHS Cervical Screening Programme is committed to reducing health inequalities for lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) women within cervical screening programmes and funded this project and research study in response to changes in NHS guidance regarding cervical screening in 2009.

This demonstration  project, delivered by The Lesbian & Gay Foundation (LGF) in partnership with the University of Salford, builds on the findings of a comprehensive systematic review (Fish 2009), which exposed the gaps in the current evidence base regarding cervical screening uptake and accessibility for LGB women, and evaluates methods to increase awareness and enhance participation in cervical screening programmes. To view please click here.

Domestic abuse

Lesbian, gay and bisexual people can experience domestic abuse – whether from family members of partners. In fact, half of gay and bisexual men report having ever experienced domestic abuse compared to 17 per cent of men in general.

The national freephone helpline (0800 999 5428) provides confidential support to all members of the LGBT communities, their family, friends, and agencies supporting them. The helpline is run by trained LGBT people and provides a space where you can talk through what is going on, and explore your options.

Local support is also available. Take a look at the East Riding of Yorkshire council website for more information

End of life care for LGBT people

Everyone should have the right to high-quality palliative care when they have a terminal illness, regardless of their condition, where they live, or their personal circumstances. The UK has been ranked as the best country in the world for the quality of palliative care on offer here. However, access to this care is patchy. One in four people who need palliative care miss out each year. LGBT people experience significant barriers to getting palliative care when they need it. This report explores why.

Fair care for transgender patients

The Royal College of Nursing has published Fair care for trans patients: an RCN guide for nursing and health care professionals. The second edition of this guidance is designed to help nursing staff and other health professionals to respond to the needs of patients and clients who identify as transgender.

Health inequalities in LGBT people:

Public Health Outcomes Framework

The Public Health Outcomes Framework (PHOF) published by Public Health England is based on national data collected through NHS monitoring and national surveys. Because sexual orientation and gender identity are not routinely monitored, the PHOF does not contain data related to LGB&T communities and so their health needs are not recognised in the document.

However, there is a substantial body of evidence demonstrating that LGB&T people experience significant health inequalities, which impact both on their health outcomes and their experiences of the healthcare system.

The LGB&T PHOF Companion Document has been developed by a group of volunteer experts from across the LGB&T community working with the Department of Health, to increase understanding of LGB&T health and make sure that the public health system tackles inequality related to sexual orientation and gender identity and promotes equality for everybody.

Gay in Britain

This report from Stonewall provides some highlights based on the outcomes of poor experiences from the LGBT community when accessing health care.

LGBT Health Hub for GPs

The Royal College of General Practitioners has launched a collection of eLearning modules, podcasts and screencasts (the LGBT Health Hub) which aims to inform and update all members of the general practice team on particularly important aspects of primary care for LGBT people, to improve both experience and outcomes for patients.

Mental health and wellbeing

Although society is becoming less prejudiced and things are changing for the better, most lesbians, gay men and bisexuals have experienced a range of difficulties in their lives, which can contribute to mental health problems. In fact, lesbian, gay and bisexual people experience higher rates of mental ill health compared to the general population. This is not because of their sexual orientation, but is likely to be linked to difficulties such as bullying and stigma – internalised, from family or friends or from society more widely. If you need support with your mental health and wellbeing there are services both locally and nationally.

PACE is London's leading charity promoting the mental health and emotional well-being of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, and with the expansion of their online services is supporting LGBT people nationwide.

More information about local support available can be found here.


Lesbian and gay people can become parents through a number of ways, including through a previous heterosexual relationship, adopting, fostering, using fertility treatment surrogacy agreements, and through co-parenting arrangements. Same-sex parents should be treated with the same dignity and respect by local healthcare services as opposite-sex parents.

If you are in a same-sex relationship and are interested in becoming parents take a look at these guides from Stonewall:

Pregnant Pause is a booklet for lesbians looking to start a family. The guide features useful information from how to get pregnant, through the stages of pregnancy, to the laws affecting lesbians and their children.

A Guide for Gay Dads offers useful information to gay men looking to become a father. The guide covers all of the options available for gay men looking to start a family from adoption and fostering through to surrogacy, co-parenting and also donating sperm.

Population estimates for the LGB

Public Health England has published Producing modelled estimates of the size of the lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) population of England.  This report establishes a new estimate of the size of the lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) population of England, providing a population denominator for use in estimating health outcomes by sexual orientation.

Sexual health

Like the rest of the population, lesbian, gay and bisexual people are at risk from sexually transmitted diseases. Research shows that gay and bisexual men remain at high risk of getting infected with HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Unfortunately it is often mistakenly assumed that women who have sex with other women cannot contract sexually transmitted diseases, but this is not the case.

You can find your local sexual health services here.

Public Health England

Improving the health and wellbeing of lesbian and bisexual women and other women who have sex with women - This report provides an overview of the evidence of health inequalities affecting lesbian and bisexual women and other women who have sex with women (LBWSW). It highlights a range of opportunities for action across the breadth of the public health system to improve the health of these women and reduce their burden of disease.

Sexual health of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men - This action plan sets out Public Health England’s initial findings on the health and wellbeing of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, and commits Public Health England to a range of actions. To guide this work to date, Public Health England has held two listening events for stakeholders and has established an advisory working group, made up of subject matter experts and academics. Public Health England will extend this work further in a strategic framework, to be published later this year. Additional link: Public Health England press release.

Smoking, Alcohol and Drugs

Lesbian, gay and bisexual people are more likely to have been smokers, to drink alcohol more often and to have taken drugs compared to the general population.

If you would like help with quitting smoking, drinking or drug taking there are services across the East Riding you can use.  Take a look at the East Riding of Yorkshire council website for more information

Antidote is the UK’s only LGBT run and targeted drug and alcohol support service. The service provides non-judgemental free advice and support delivered by highly trained staff and volunteers – all of whom identify as LGB or T, and who have a good understanding of the pressures and problem that come with recreational drug or alcohol use. Call their helpline on 020 7833 1674, 10am-6pm, Monday to Friday and ask for one of the Antidote team.

Suicide Prevention toolkits for health professionals working with young people

New toolkits produced in collaboration between the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and Public Health England (PHE) primarily for nurses who work with children and young people, whether in community or hospital settings, including:

  • School nurses,
  • Practice nurses,
  • Accident and emergency nurses.

These toolkits aim to: develop skills and knowledge and recognise the wider context of mental health in relation to LGBT sexual orientation and identity. They  provide a general outline for health professionals looking to increase their skills and knowledge around suicide prevention strategies with LGBT young people.

Support group for young LGBT people

Lollipop is a support group for young LGBTQ+ young people aged 10-18 and up to 25 for people with special educational needs and disability (SEND).  It is run every Wednesday in Beverley and more information is available through calling 01482 871077 or emailing