Six out of ten England hospital trusts have adopted NHS rainbow badges for staff to support LGBT+ patients.
Evelina London was the one who developed the scheme. The scheme was first implemented at St Thomas’ and Guy’s hospitals in February, following a successful pilot.
The scheme launched less than a decade ago but 61% of NHS trusts across England have launched it or are planning to roll out the program using a special toolkit designed by Evelina.
Currently, the badge is worn by over 4,000 Guy’s & St Thomas’ employees. This includes Evelina London Children’s Hospital.
According to a survey, nine out of ten Trust badge holders received positive feedback from patients and staff.
The badge features the NHS logo superimposed over the rainbow pride flag. It can be worn on lanyards, uniforms, or on lanyards. They promote inclusion and show that you are open to having conversations about sexuality and gender identity issues with the person wearing them.
Employees who sign up to wear the badge will be provided information about the issues LGBT+ people face when accessing healthcare. They also have the opportunity to learn what support they can get.
Stonewall found that 77% of LGBT+ persons have avoided treatment due to fear of discrimination and nearly 44% have seen discriminatory or negative comments made about LGBT+ people by healthcare staff.
Dr Ranj, former Evelina London paediatrician and Department of Health and Social Care has supported the project.
Dr Ranj said, “Young LGBT+ persons face greater and complex challenges than their peers. This includes healthcare. As health professionals, we have a duty of care for their well-being in all aspects. This means that we must provide a safe environment for them, where they feel valued and protected, especially when they need it.
“Small gestures of kindness like this make a huge difference to people who are most in need. I am so proud to have been able to contribute to the Trust’s culture and values. Let’s get it done across the whole NHS.
Dr Michael Farquhar from Evelina London is the lead for the NHS rainbow badge initiative. He also serves as a consultant to the NHS. We created a toolkit for any NHS Trust or Organization to launch this scheme. More than 60% of NHS Trusts in England have used it since February to introduce rainbow badges.
“Despite improvements in social attitudes, LGBT+ individuals can still face significant hurdles to access healthcare. This can have an impact on both physical and mental well-being.
“A rainbow NHS badge is a badge that shows staff that the NHS can be open, non-judgemental, and inclusive for LGBT+ people and their family members. They also show that they are available to support and listen to them when they need it.
“We are proud to have the rainbow NHS badge as a part of helping to address those problems. We look forward building on what has already been achieved, including working closely with Dr Michael Brady (National Advisor for LGBT Health) and those delivering NHS England LGBT+ Action Plan.
Jayne King is the head of security at Guy’s St Thomas’ NHS Foundation and cochair of the LGBT+ forum. She stated, “Equality between our staff members and patients, is extremely important to me. The NHS rainbow badge initiative shows our support for the LGBT+ population and our continuing commitment to celebrating diversity and inclusion.
“NHS staff have the ideal position to be advocates for LGBT+ individuals and are able to support them.” It can make a huge difference in the lives of LGBT+ persons and their mental and physical well-being.
Check out the NHS rainbow fleece with Wipeout Creations.