NHS staff have launched an initiative to promote a positive message of inclusion for LGBT+ patients and colleagues in Southampton.
Staff across University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust have been signing up to wear a specially designed NHS rainbow badge to show support for all who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and all other identities (LGBT+).
“Simple visible symbols - such as these rainbow badges – can make a big difference for people who are worried about the reaction they might get if they disclose their sexuality or gender identity,” said Chas Brickland, who helped implement the initiative as co-chair of the LGBT+ network.
National research has shown that unhealthy attitudes towards LGBT+ issues are still affecting people’s right to access healthcare. A Stonewall survey published in 2018 recorded that:
- Half of LGBT+ people experienced depression in the last year
- One in five LGBT+ people have never disclosed their sexual orientation to a healthcare professional
- One in seven LGBT+ people avoid seeking treatment for fear of discrimination
These badges symbolise the recognition that, as people who work in healthcare, we can play a key role in making things better.
Chas explained: “Seeing one of our staff wearing a badge is a reminder that you can be open and honest with us about who you are – and that if you need support, we will do our best to provide it.”
When staff sign up for a badge, they are provided with information about the challenges people can face and are given details on how they can offer support.
Gail Byrne, director of nursing and organisational development, added: “This initiative is a fantastic opportunity to support our LGBT+ community as well as valuing and celebrating inclusion across UHS.”
Medical director Derek Sandeman added: "I will wear my badge with pride - as a symbol of my values and those of the Trust, as well as an opportunity for us to enjoy the benefits of diversity."
The rainbow badge project has received overwhelming Trust-wide support with over 200 badges now in circulation and more on the way.
Chief executive Paula Head commended staff for their dedication to equality, diversity and inclusion.
She said: “Thank you to all our staff for wearing these badges and showing support for our LGBT+ service users, their families and colleagues.”
“A diverse and inclusive workforce is really important for the future of our Trust.”
The rainbow badge initiative was first introduced by staff at Evelina London Children’s Hospital and has since rolled out at various NHS organisations across the country. It gives healthcare staff a simple yet effective way of showing their dedication to open, non-judgemental and inclusive care for all.
Posted on Tuesday 4 June 2019