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

This report examines the relationship between self-reported experiences of patients and a range of patient, GP practice and regional level characteristics.

7 Detailed Findings - Sexual Orientation

7.1 People were asked which of heterosexual/straight; gay or lesbian; bisexual; or other best described the way that they thought of themselves. The sexual orientation of respondents is shown in Table 5.

Table 5 Sexual orientation of respondents

Group Number of respondents Percentage of respondents
Heterosexual/Straight 132,874 91.3
Gay or lesbian 1,545 1.1
Other 1,496 1.0
Bisexual 656 0.5
No response or invalid response 8,998 6.2

7.2 For the analysis, groups were compared with the group who identified themselves as heterosexual /straight, the largest group. Of the 39 questions modelled, sexual orientation had a weak effect on experiences for 13 of them.

7.3 Gay or lesbian and bisexual groups had similar experiences compared to the heterosexual/straight group. Those patients who selected the 'other' category or did not answer this question had slightly less positive experiences.

7.4 It is difficult to draw many conclusions about the experiences of patients with different sexual orientations because of the high level of non-response for this question: many more people did not answer the question than the total number that answered that they were gay, lesbian, bisexual or other. Furthermore, the rate of non-response for this question (6%) was greater than that of any other demographic question. Therefore patients who did not answer this question have been included in the analysis as a separate category. From roughly age 60 and over the likelihood of people not answering the question increased with age.

7.5 We compared our response to this question with the Office for National Statistics (ONS 2012) Integrated Household Survey (IHS) question on sexual orientation. The IHS survey found that in the UK:

  • 93.9 per cent of adults identified themselves as heterosexual/straight
  • 1.1 per cent of adults identified themselves as gay or lesbian
  • 0.4 per cent of adults identified themselves as bisexual
  • 0.3 per cent as 'other'
  • 4.2 per cent did not answer the question

7.6 The UK IHS was conducted with face-to-face and telephone interviews which explains the much lower rate of non-response to the question. The percentage of patients by group in the GP and local NHS services survey was reasonably similar to that from the IHS.

7.7 There are no obvious patterns in the answers and there is little than can be inferred from them. It is possible that there will be a greater proportion of lesbian/gay bisexual patients out of the total not answering the question than answering the question.


Email: Gregor Boyd

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