GP's in Mid-Essex are set to be offered training to help staff meet the needs of LGBT patients.

The Pride in Practice initiative which started in Greater Manchester in 2011is being rolled out to practices within the Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group.

Elizabeth Courtauld Surgery in Halstead, Blackwater Medical Centre in Maldon, Greenwood Surgery in South Woodham Ferrers, Mount Chambers Surgery in Braintree, Douglas Grove in Witham and North Chelmsford Health Centre are among those who will be receiving the free training.

Former GP from Halstead Shan Newhouse said she thinks the initiative is a great idea.

She said: "As a GP, I was especially concerned that bisexual and lesbian women felt able to come for routine smears.

"I retired five years ago and during my time working it was a very long, slow process for transgender people to get support, so I hope this will improve the process for them."

The initiative comes after research found that one in seven LGBT people avoid seeking healthcare for fear of discrimination from staff and almost one in four LGBT people have witnessed discriminatory or negative remarks against LGBT people by healthcare staff.

Anna Davey, GP and chair of Mid Essex CCG said the group is "delighted" to support the initiative.

She said: "The LGBT Foundation has a fantastic track record for delivering this programme and I am looking forward to seeing the results over the coming months."

GP's at the ((applicable surgeries)) will be given an accreditation following the training to help the relationships between patients and services to be stronger.

GP's will have the confidence to support transgender patients beginning their transition, support gay and lesbian people wanting to adopt children and support the delivery of effective signposting and social prescribing for LGBT communities, linking services with a range of LGBT-affirmative local community assets.

Claudia Carvell, business development manager Pride in Practice at the LGBT Foundation said: "We are excited for the opportunity to work with mid Essex CCG and integrate Pride in Practice within their GP practices.

"Mid Essex is uniquely situated to support LGBT people living just outside Greater London, who would traditionally require extensive travel to get the support and healthcare that they need.

"We hope that working collaboratively with mid Essex CCG, Livewell link workers and the local LGBT community will enable GP services to be more inclusive, equitable and effective for both patients and healthcare professionals."