Six out of ten hospitals in England have introduced NHS rainbow badges to their staff in support of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGBT+), patients.
Evelina London developed the scheme and it was implemented in Guy’s and St Thomas’s hospitals. It was based on a pilot that went well at the children’s hospital.
Although the scheme was launched less than one year ago, 61% have either launched it or plan to do so using a toolkit created by Evelina London.
The badge is currently worn by more than 4,000 Guy’s or St Thomas’ employees, including Evelina London Children’s Hospital.
Nine in ten badge-wearers at the Trust reported positive responses to a survey.
This badge, which is a superimposed logo of the NHS on the rainbow pride flag, can be worn on lanyards and uniforms. They are an indicator that the wearer is open to discussing issues related to sexuality and gender identity and promote inclusion.
Staff who sign up for the badge are given information about the difficulties LGBT+ face in accessing healthcare as well as what they can do to help them.
Stonewall found that almost one-fourth of LGBT+ individuals have been subject to discriminatory remarks or comments by healthcare personnel.
Dr Ranj, a former Evelina London paediatrician and Department of Health and Social Care support the project.
Dr Ranj stated that young LGBT+ people face more complex and greater challenges than their peers in healthcare. We have a responsibility as health professionals to ensure their wellbeing in all aspects of their lives. Therefore, we must create an environment that allows them to feel valued, secure and comfortable.
“Small gestures such as this are so important to those who really need them most. I am proud to be part in something that advances the culture and values at the Trust. Let’s make it happen across the entire NHS.
Dr Michael Farquhar is the lead of the NHS rainbow badge initiative and a sleep consultant at Evelina London. He said that “Since the pilot project was launched at Evelina London one year ago, we have been amazed at the way people have adopted the scheme.” We developed a toolkit that can be used by any NHS Trust to launch the scheme. Since we released it in February, more than 60% of NHS Trusts across England have started to use it to introduce rainbow badges for their staff.
“Despite improvements in social attitudes in the UK LGBT+ people still face significant barriers to access healthcare, and this can have a significant effect on their mental and physical health.
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“Having a rainbow NHS badge shows that our staff are open, non-judgemental, inclusive and welcoming place for LGBT+ people. We are also here to support them and listen to their needs.
“We are proud of the rainbow NHS badge model and look forward to continuing to contribute to the solution.”
Jayne King, head security at Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation trust, and co-chair of LGBT+ forum, stated: “Equality for our staff and patients are extremely important to us. The NHS rainbow badge initiative demonstrates that we support the LGBT+ community, and our ongoing commitment towards promoting inclusion.
“NHS staff can be advocates and support for LGBT+ people. An increase in awareness about the challenges LGBT+ people face when accessing health care can make a big difference in their lives and their mental and physical health.