Leeds GP practice strikes gold

Armley Medical Practice has become the first GP surgery in Leeds to be awarded a gold award under a national pilot that brings the ‘Pride in Practice’ programme to the city.

The scheme, part of a pilot funded by the Government Equalities Office, co-ordinated by NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and delivered by LGBT Foundation, aims to strengthen GP practices’ relationship with their lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) patients.

Originally launched by LGBT Foundation in Manchester in 2012, Pride in Practice is a quality assurance and social prescribing programme, which includes training, accreditation and account management support designed for primary care services, including GP practices and pharmacies. Pride in Practice works with clinicians, managers and staff to better meet the needs of LGBT patients and empowers LGBT community members to work with health professionals and find shared solutions to barriers, ensuring patient voice and lived experience is at the centre of the programme.

The programme package includes myth-busting training, support to deliver effective active signposting and social prescribing for LGBT communities, and ongoing support.

In Leeds, nearly half (42%) of GP services have registered with the programme.  Feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive, with practice managers reporting it was “the best training we’ve had” and “enlightening.”

According to Linda Thompson, Practice Manager at Armley Medical Practice, “Taking part in Pride in Practice has been a really worthwhile experience for all our staff that will make a positive difference to our patients. We’ve all learned a great deal and I would encourage any practice that has not taken part to do so.”

Minister for Equalities, Baroness Williams, said: “It is vital that LGBT people are able to access appropriate healthcare and are treated with respect.

“I would like to congratulate Armley Medical Practice on achieving the Gold Award for the Pride in Practice programme, showing a real commitment to ensuring they serve LGBT people in a supportive and respectful manner.”

Dr Gordon Sinclair, Clinical Chair of the CCG, said “We know that nationally, LGBT people access primary care later, travel further to use services they trust and often experience poorer health outcomes in some areas.

“By supporting Pride in Practice, we’re committed to ensuring that LGBT people in Leeds feel confident using their local primary care services and don’t face any barriers.”

Councillor Rebecca Charlwood, Chair of the Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board and Leeds City Council Executive Member for Health, Wellbeing and Adults, said: “Being the first GP surgery in Leeds to receive a Pride in Practice Gold Award is a huge achievement for Armley Medical Practice and well-deserved recognition for their work on this important agenda.

“Leeds City Council is committed to tackling health inequalities and ensuring all services across the city are open and accessible to everybody. I’m delighted that so many Leeds GPs are supporting this programme and would encourage those who haven’t, to sign up to Pride in Practice so that we can continue to work together to make Leeds the best city for health and wellbeing – for everyone.“

Claudia Carvell, Business Development Manager for Pride in Practice, said: “Working closely with NHS Leeds CCG and with support from Leeds Council LGBT Hub and local LGBT organisations in Leeds, we are excited to be able to offer Pride in Practice to GP practices in the area.

“We are proud to have supported Armley Medical to achieve the first gold accreditation in this pilot, and to welcome them into a community of practices nationally who are working with us on LGBT inclusion and access in primary care.

“Since 2016, Pride in Practice has been rolled out across 445 primary care services, reaching 2 million patients across Greater Manchester.  100% of health professionals trained can evidence improvements within their service as a result of Pride in Practice.”

Councillor Hannah Bithell, Leeds City Council LGBT+ champion, said: “I am proud to have worked with the LGBT Foundation on this incredible initiative, it’s an important step forward for all LGBT+ people in Leeds.

“We want to make sure all LGBT+ people can have open and honest conversations with health professionals, so they can understand their individual needs and give them the best health support and advice.”

The Pride in Practice programme is endorsed and informed by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, Royal College of General Practitioners, Care Quality Commission, and the Government Equalities Office.