Mar 04, 2019
Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust has introduced NHS rainbow badges for staff across its hospitals and community services to signal it is an open, non-judgemental and inclusive place for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) patients.
We supported the initial pilot at Evelina London, launched in October 2018, and, following its success, we’ve now backed the ambitious roll out across all of the Trust’s services, a first for an NHS Foundation Trust. Staff sign up to receive a badge and are provided with information about the challenges people who identify as LGBT+ can face accessing healthcare and what they can do to support them. Since the start of the pilot, almost one third of Evelina staff have signed up to wear a badge.
LGBT+ patients face inequalities in their experience of NHS healthcare, with recent Stonewall data showing that nearly one in four LGBT+ people have witnessed discriminatory or negative remarks against LGBT+ patients by healthcare staff.
Jayne King, head of security and co-chair of the LGBT+ forum at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, said: “NHS staff are in the perfect position to be advocates and supporters for LGBT+ people. Increased awareness of the issues LGBT+ people face when accessing healthcare can make a significant difference to their experiences, and, in turn their physical and mental health.”
Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock MP, has backed the scheme and there is increasing momentum for the initiative to spread across the UK. Evelina London has created a toolkit to support and encourage other NHS organisations to implement the scheme based on their learnings. Since its launch, more than 100 clinical commissioning groups, GP surgeries and hospitals from across the country have already expressed an interest in rolling it out to reduce stigma and inequalities in their workplace.
Speaking of the initiative, Matt Hancock said: “Every patient and everyone who works in the NHS should feel welcomed by the NHS, regardless of their gender identity, race or sexual orientation. I love wearing my rainbow badge and I wear it with pride. I'm delighted to see Evelina London rolling out this fantastic initiative, to ensure no one feels alone or faces prejudice."
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