A Mornington Peninsula health service is breaking new ground in a fresh approach to improving the health and wellbeing of the GLBTI community.

Billed as the first development of its kind for health care providers across the state, Peninsula Health is establishing a GLBTI health and wellbeing advisory group and looking for locals to join in and provide feedback on the services Peninsular Health provides.

Peninsula Health’s complex services community health director Simon Ruth said he hoped the group would foster more inclusive health care of GLBTI people in the region.

“Evidence shows poor health and wellbeing outcomes of GLBTI people is strongly linked to the discrimination and social isolation they face,” Ruth told Southern Star.

“They tend to avoid or delay care because of perceived or actual discrimination by health care providers.
“They may also receive inappropriate or inferior care when service providers don’t understand their needs.”

The advisory group will meet monthly to offer feedback and help develop ideas for creating a welcoming environment across Peninsula Health’s services.

The group will also have input into staff sensitivity training on how to deal with GLBTI people in a range of health areas such as mental health, child and aged care.

The move follows the release of Well Proud, a set of new health guidelines developed by the Victorian Ministerial Advisory Committee on GLBTI Health and Wellbeing to ensure GLBTI people are cared for appropriately in health services.

Well Proud recently won an ALSO Award for Most Outstanding Health Initiative.

Ministerial Advisory Committee on GLBTI Health and Wellbeing chair Dr Ruth McNair said she was pleased Peninsula Health was taking a proactive approach to improving health services.

“It’s really important that they’re looking to speak to the local community because when the local community is vocal about the inclusiveness of things like child care workers and mental health services and it filters back to the board, it’s then something [Peninsula Health] can respond to  effectively,” she said.

McNair said apart from local councils, which have sought community feedback on a range of services, it’s the first time a health service provider had sought advice from the GLBTI community directly about how the service operates for them.

“It’s a great thing that a mainstream group is looking to the local community to work with them on this,” she said.

info: Contact Peninsula Health’s community participation officer Elaine Hills 9788 1221. A health background is not necessary.

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