The Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) has launched a new LGBT guide for GPs.

Unveiled at the weekend, the guide was written jointly by the ICGP and Ireland’s Gay & Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN).

It includes information for GPs on topics such as sexual orientation; mental and sexual health; supportive services GPs can refer patients to; and resources for further learning.

A recent Irish study found that 45% of lesbian and gay people actively seek out gay-friendly healthcare professionals because of bad experiences they had in the past and 28% admitted to hiding the fact that they were gay for fear of a negative response from professionals.

Odhrán Allen, director of mental health at GLEN, said: “For the most part lesbian, gay and bisexual people face the same health issues as heterosexual men and women but there are specific health issues that GPs need to be aware of for LGB people including mental health and sexual health.

“Patients may also visit their GP because of issues related to their sexuality such as coming out, homophobic bullying and isolation.”

Dr Margaret O’ Riordan, medical director at ICGP, added: “It is of great importance to the ICGP to provide lesbian, gay and bisexual people with an accessible and appropriate GP service. We have been working in partnership with the GLEN for a number of years to address gay and lesbian issues in GP training and practice and the ICGP are delighted to launch this document, which will support our members in understanding and responding to the needs of gay and lesbian patients.”