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Equality and Poverty Analysis Team

Communities Analytical Services

Scottish Government

1F North

Victoria Quay

Edinburgh EH6 6QQ

Summary: Sexual Orientation and Health, Social Care and Sport

Summary: Sexual Orientation and Health, Social Care and Sport

  • In 2014, after age standardisation, the proportion of the "LGB & Other" group reporting good or very good general health is significantly lower than the rest of the population (65.6% compared with 74.5%).

  • In 2014, the "LGB & Other" group has a higher smoking rate overall, but when their younger age distribution is accounted for this apparent difference is found not to be significant.

  • In 2014, the "LGB & Other" group has a lower mental wellbeing score on average than the heterosexual group (1.4 points lower).

Source: Scottish Surveys Core Questions (SSCQ) 2014


  • People who self-reported as bisexual reported poorer self-assessed health (68% had good or very good health) and lower mental wellbeing (mean WEMWBS score of 47.9) than average.
  • The mental wellbeing of gay men and lesbians (48.8) was not significantly different from the average. 

Source: Scottish Health Survey Topic Report: Equality Groups


  • The Scottish Government collects information on the experiences of people in relation to healthcare services through the Scottish care experience survey programme.  Both patient and non-patient factors influence people’s experiences. While patient characteristics such as age and gender account for some of the variation in experiences, non-patient factors such as the individual GP practice, GP practice size, type of admission to hospital and individual hospital are also an important influence on experience.
  • Analysis has been undertaken which takes all of these factors into account in relation to differences in experiences for GP, Inpatient and Cancer care.  This analysis can be found at:

 Sources: Variations in the Experience of Inpatients in Scotland: Analysis of the 2016 Inpatient Survey

Scottish Patient Experience Survey of GP and Local NHS Services 2011/12 Volume 3: Variation in the Experiences of Primary Care Patients

Inpatient Experience Survey Volume 3: Exploring differences in experience

Scottish Cancer Patient Experience Survey 2015/16 - Exploring Differences in Cancer Patient Experiences


  • As at end March 2017, 51.7% of staff employed by NHSScotland declared their sexual orientation as Heterosexual and 1.2% as Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual.  Note that 17.2% of staff declined to declare their sexual orientation, and the sexual orientation of 29.5% of staff is not known.  (Information on disability, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation is based on data from a self-reported questionnaire. As this is not mandatory, response rates and completion are variable across NHSScotland.)

Source: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Workforce/


Useful Links

Sexual Orientation Page

Health, Social Care and Sport Page

Publications and Outputs



Scottish Health Survey - via UK Data Service

ScotPHO website: Sexual orientation - These pages summarise what is known about numbers of LGB people in Scotland and reviews the key data sources.

External Links

External Links

Please note that you will leave the Scottish Government web site by clicking on any of the following links, and that the Scottish Government and its staff are not responsible for content external to this web site.

The Scottish Public Health Observatory

Stonewall - Stonewall work to adress the needs of lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals in the wider community.

The research below has been carried out independently of the Scottish Government, the results are hosted on an external website and the findings do not necessarily represent the views of the Scottish Government or Scottish Ministers.

Experiences of healthcare for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual people - Research by Stonewall demonstrates that the specific needs of lesbian, gay and bisexual people are too often overlooked in the provision of healthcare.

Gay and Bisexual Men's Health Survey - Stonewall surveyed 6,861 gay and bisexual men to explore whether their health needs are being met.

Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual People in later life Survey - This research by Stonewall examines the expectations that both heterosexual and gay people have about getting older and underlines how their experiences differ. It demonstrates that older gay people are not accessing the services they need and are genuinely afraid about who will support them as they age.

The NHS Health Scotland equality team webpages provide an introduction to equality, health inequalities and human rights in relation to health outcomes for each of the nine protected characteristics, signposting to qualitative research about access to services, practice guidance and case studies to help planners and practitioners design and deliver services which meet the needs of individuals and communities. Their Monthly Equalities Alert provides an update on the latest articles and journals covering health in relation to protected characteristics and population groups.



Health, Social Care & Sport