SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan has pledged to support Marie Curie in calling for high quality palliative and end of life care for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who often face discrimination.
Mr Durkan was speaking after helping to launch the charity’s latest report at Westminster – ‘Hiding Who I am’: The reality of end of life care for LGBT people’.
The report looks at the barriers that prevent LGBT people from accessing end of life care and highlights their real-life experiences. Findings show that nearly three-quarters (74 per cent) of LGBT people are not confident that health and social care services provide sensitive end of life care for their needs.
As a result, they often delay accessing the care they need and are more likely to experience unmanaged symptoms and pain at the end of their lives.
Mr Durkan said: “I was shocked to learn that so many LGBT people who were interviewed by researchers said they felt anxiety about having to hide who they are when accessing end of life care.
“It is also deeply concerning that one in four had experienced discrimination from health and social care professionals in their lifetime.
“I am therefore pleased to support the launch of this important report, and do all I can to ensure that the campaign for LGBT equality and acceptance continues.”
Scott Sinclair, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Marie Curie, said: “The support of Mark Durkan is incredibly valuable as part of our call for high quality end of life care for LGBT people.
“No one should have to hide who they are at the end of their lives. If LGBT people are not confident about health and social care services, or have experienced discrimination in the past, they may not feel able to be open about themselves and the people who are important to them – factors that are all crucial to dying well.
“Learning about the prejudice LGBT people experience as they are dying, when they are at their most vulnerable, is deeply saddening.”
Anyone affected by terminal illness can contact the Marie Curie Support Line on 0800 090 2309 for help and support. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones. It is open Monday-Friday, 8am-6pm and Saturdays, 11am-5pm.