NSW Government recognises diversity and inclusion in first ever LGBTIQ+ Health Strategy
In an important development for our state, the NSW Government recently released the first-ever LGBTIQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer) Health Strategy 2022-2027.
The NSW LGBTIQ+ Health Strategy (the Strategy) marks a significant commitment in the history of the NSW health system. The strategy provides direction to all NSW Health organisations and staff, so that collectively they can deliver the best care to LGBTIQ+ people and work with them to achieve optimal health and wellbeing. This includes the health, wellbeing and safety of our health staff who are LGBTIQ+.
The Strategy’s vision is for LGBTIQ+ people in NSW to receive high quality, safe, inclusive and responsive healthcare that delivers outcomes that matter to them. The strategic priorities of the Strategy over the next five years are to:
- Deliver high quality, safe, inclusive and responsive care
- Respond to the health needs of transgender and gender diverse people in NSW
- Respond to the health needs of intersex people in NSW
- Capture data on sexuality, gender and intersex variations at the point-of-care and population level.
In developing the Strategy, the NSW Government has recognised that ‘every person in our community deserves dignity, safety, respect, kindness, and to be themselves. NSW Health is firmly committed to celebrating and strengthening diversity, inclusion and belonging in our health system.’
The Strategy has been built on the voices, experiences, and insights of over 1,600 LGBTIQ+ people across the State and more than 750 NSW Health staff.
Of special note in relation to LGBTIQ+ people affected by cancer are the inclusion of a case study titled Working in partnership to reduce cancer risks for LGBTIQ+ people. The case study indicates that ‘The Cancer Institute of NSW and ACON (the NSW Health-funded community organisation, established in 1985, that is focussed on community health, inclusion and HIV responses for people of diverse sexualities and genders] have been working together since 2015 on short term programs in smoking cessation and breast and cervical cancer screening. This partnership has been important to engage and empower LGBTIQ+ communities to contribute to goals under the NSW Cancer Plan.’
Another case study, Working in partnership to increase awareness about anal cancer among LGBTIQ+ people, details the collaboration since 2013 between Positive Life NSW, St Vincents Hospital Sydney, The Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Royal North Shore Hospital, Cancer Council NSW, The Kirby Institute and ACON, that has focused on increasing awareness of anal cancer and improving access to related services for LGBTIQ+ people and people living with HIV/AIDS.
The NSW LGBTIQ+ Health Strategy 2022-2027 Implementation Plan has been developed to guide the NSW Health system as it commences its work to deliver the Strategy. The period for this first phase of implementation is from the Strategy’s release through to December 2023.
In his message in the Strategy, the NSW Minister for Health, Brad Hazzard, states that:
The NSW Government is firmly committed to celebrating and strengthening diversity, inclusion and belonging, as core to a safe, harmonious and prosperous community for all.
Stigma, discrimination, and trauma are battles that every LGBTIQ+ person has faced historically and in the present day. These experiences are unacceptable in our health system and throughout society. Every person in our community deserves dignity, safety, respect, kindness, and to be themselves.
It is a great honour for me to present to all LGBTIQ+ people, NSW Health staff and the community the NSW LGBTIQ+ Health Strategy 2022-2027. Together we can realise its vision, so that in our health system LGBTIQ+ people receive high quality, safe, inclusive, and responsive healthcare that delivers outcomes that matter to them.
Through this strategy we have a significant opportunity to learn, share our respect, knowledge and skills, and transform people’s lives for the better. I know the NSW Health system and LGBTIQ+ community will work hard together to make this possible, and that NSW’s inclusive health practice will be meaningful and valued.
The NSW Government is to be commended for the development of the Strategy. Cancer Voices NSW looks forward to its implementation over the next five years.
Information in this article courtesy of NSW Health and ACON.