Fear of homophobic prejudice & isolation, lack of dignity & respect
London – 20 June 2012
The first ever national conference on end of life care for LGBT people will take place this Thursday 21 June, 10.30am to 3.45pm, at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel & Conference Centre, 4 -18 Harrington Gardens , Kensington, London , SW7 4LH.
Policymakers, service providers, academics and people who are dying will come together on Thursday to discuss how to improve end of life care for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, at a major conference organised by the National Council for Palliative Care in association with the National End of Life Care Programme and the University of Nottingham.
Amongst the speakers at the Central London event will be LGBT and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who will warn: “LGBT people continue to be at risk of being let down by end of life care services. Many fear prejudice and isolation. They are not always treated with dignity and respect when they are dying.”
Other speakers include Dr Kathryn Almack from the University of Nottingham, Dr Andrew King from Kingston University, Dr Ann Cronin, Tung Suen from the University of Oxford, retired police officer Cheryl Callow, Eleanor Sherwen from the National End of Life Care Programme and senior hospice staff.
Sam Turner, Director of Public Engagement at the National Council for Palliative Care and one of the conference speakers said:
“Good end of life care should be about doing all we can to make people feel safe and secure to talk about their lives and the people who are important to them without worrying they may be discriminated against. We only have one chance to get end of life care right for people who are dying, which is why it is so important that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are able to access high quality and appropriate care and support when they are dying.”
Human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell added:
“Becoming seriously ill and knowing you are dying is distressing enough without the added stress of worrying that your carers may not accept you if they know you are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). Fear of homophobic prejudice, rejection and neglect is very real and continues to damage people’s lives. Many terminally ill lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people feel doubly vulnerable – on account of their illnesses and on account of homophobia and transphobia. We still have a long way to go to ensure treatment and support without prejudice, which is why I am delighted to be speaking at this important, ground-breaking event. I commend the work of the National Council for Palliative Care and the National End of Life Care Programme.”
The conference takes place on the day that the National End of Life Care Programme publishes a new guide on end of life care for LGBT people, developed following consultation and discussion groups held across the country. ‘The route to success in end of life care – achieving quality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people’ aims to encourage people to be confident in being open about their relationships and needs, guide organisations and people within them to have an LGBT friendly culture and highlight constructive key messages for everyone to act on.
Earlier this year a report by the National Council for Palliative Care and the Consortium of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Voluntary and Community Organisations, Open to All, found that many LGBT people did not feel that end of life care services are open to them and were concerned that they will face discrimination and a lack of understanding from health and social care providers when dying.
Notes to editors
1.‘Open to all? Meeting the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people nearing the end of life’ is published by the National Council for Palliative Care and the Consortium of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Voluntary and Community Organisations. Copies of the report are free for NCPC subscribers and £10 for everyone else. There is also a DVD which accompanies the report, priced £5 for non-NCPC subscribers.
2. The National Council for Palliative Care is the umbrella charity for all those involved in palliative, end of life and hospice care in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It also leads the Dying Matters Coalition (www.dyingmatters.org) which aims to help transform public attitudes towards dying, death and bereavement in England.
3. ‘The route to success in end of life care – achieving quality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people’ will be published on Thursday 21st June and will be available to download at: www.endoflifecareforadults.nhs.uk/publications/rts-lgbt. For the embargoed report and press release, please contact Kate Henry, Communications Lead at the National End of Life Care Programme: Kate.Henry@eolc.nhs.uk.
Peter Tatchell, Director, Peter Tatchell Foundation