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Equality and Poverty Analysis Team

Communities Analytical Services

Scottish Government

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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

Publications and Outputs

Sexual Orientation in Scotland 2017: A Summary of the Evidence Base (January 2017) This report draws together statistics and research on sexual orientation from a range of sources and presents these in a single bulletin, providing user-friendly infographics and commentary. It examines the differences between heterosexual adults in Scotland and those who self-identify their sexual orientation as lesbian, gay, bisexual or other in major household surveys.

Measuring Use of Health Services by Equality Group (NHS Scotland Information Services Division, 2017) This report describes the current availability of equality data in routine national administrative health datasets in Scotland that are used for a number of secondary uses such as planning, performance monitoring, benchmarking and research. It covers age, disability, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation and transgender

ISD Equality Evidence Finder (NHS Scotland Information Services Division) Summarises the NHS data available by equality characteristics

Scottish Surveys Core Questions 2016 (April 2018) Official statistics publication on equality groups across a range of measures from harmonised questions across the major SG population surveys. This publication provides statistics centred around protected equality characteristics and sub-national geographies: age, disability, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, country of birth, deprivation and Health Board/Police Scotland Division.

Scottish Household Survey 2016 (September 2017) This report presents reliable and up-to-date information on the composition, characteristics and behaviour of Scottish households, both nationally and at a sub-national level. This includes analysis of age, deprivation, disability, ethnicity, gender, religion and sexual orientation


Inpatient Experience Survey Volume 3: Exploring differences in experience (April 2017) This report explores differences in the self-reported experiences of different groups of people based on the 2015/16 Scottish Inpatient Experience Survey. It considers age, deprivation, disability, ethnicity, gender, religion and sexual orientation

Active Scotland Outcomes: Indicator Equality Analysis (November 2015) This report presents an analysis of equality data across the indicators from the Active Scotland Outcomes Framework. Many data gaps were highlighted, however, available evidence points to inequality of opportunities and outcomes for all groups with protected characteristics across all the Active Scotland outcomes.

Scottish Government Equality Outcomes: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Evidence Review (2013) A comprehensive review of available evidence in relation to sexual orientation and transgender people

Dimensions of Diversity:Population Differences and Health Improvement Opportunities (NHS Health Scotland, 2010) This gives a concise overview, of basic health information about a range of population groups in Scotland, linking users to further sources of information.



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 research below has been carried out independently of the Scottish Government and the findings do not necessarily represent the views of the Scottish Government or Scottish Ministers

External Publications and Outputs

Unhealthy Attitudes Scotland: The treatment of LGBT people within health and social care organisations in Scotland (Stonewall Scotland, 2015) Survey looking into LGBT issues in health and social care settings within Scotland

Gay and Bisexual Men’s Health Survey (Stonewall, 2013) Stonewall surveyed 6,861 gay and bisexual men to explore whether their health needs are being met.

Experiences of Healthcare – Stonewall Health Briefing (Stonewall, 2012) Research by Stonewall demonstrates that the specific needs of lesbian, gay and bisexual people are too often overlooked in the provision of healthcare.

Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual People in later life Survey (Stonewall, 2011) 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.

External Research Organisations

NHS Health Scotland - 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.


Scottish Public Health Observatory - Presents information on health inequalities covering children and young people, older people, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation.

Stonewall Scotland - LGBT research and publications.



Health, Social Care & Sport