Canberra women who are same-sex attracted face more barriers than the average female population when accessing healthcare and achieving good health.
A new report from the Women's Centre for Health Matters and ACT Aids Action Council, to be launched on Tuesday, is a step in the right direction for making the Canberra health care system more accessible for same-sex attracted women, Women's Centre for Health Matters chief executive Marcia Williams said.
About 350 women were surveyed on health topics for the report, the majority identified as lesbian, followed by bisexual, queer, gay, pansexual and asexual.
The top three health conditions the women were concerned about were mental health, weight, diet and fitness, and chronic conditions.
Affordability, appointment availability and long wait times were the biggest barriers to accessing services for ACT women generally, a previous report found, and these were also the biggest barriers for LGBQ women in this study. However, LGBQ women also said they worry about stigma when seeking health services.
There is a growing body of evidence that lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer women's needs are distinct from the general population, and each other. This report sheds light on that idea, and is the first of its kind in more than a decade. The services will work with the ACT government and health care providers on the report's recommendations.
Ms Williams said there had been limited data on the needs of LGBQ women and their health needs and barriers.
"The views of LGBQ women are important to understand so that the ACT health care system can respond appropriately to their specific needs and issues," Ms Williams said.
"The findings show the areas for improvements to health services, programs and policies in the ACT, so that LGBQ women can use and engage with the ACT health care system more effectively to improve their overall health and wellbeing."
Aids Action Council executive director Philippa Moss said the survey results were interesting, and some were troubling. She said 60 per cent of the women rated their mental health as fair, poor or very poor.
"This is significantly higher than women in the general population, with 40 per cent rating their mental health as fair, poor or very poor in the ACT Women's Health Matters! 2018 report," Ms Moss said.
"More alarming evidence from the research suggests that half of respondents had experienced sexual, domestic or family violence (59 per cent).
"Abusive behavior is never acceptable, whether it's is in a heterosexual relationship or a same-sex relationship, a poly relationship or any other type or relationship. We all deserve to feel valued, respected, and safe."
The five recommendations from the report included more training and research, for clinicians to actively consider sexuality as part of care, and to ask people about their gender or sexuality instead of assuming.
The report said when women have good quality information and services available to them, they are equpped to maintain their own health and wellbeing, as well as that of their children, partners and family members.