This is in response to a Stonewall survey which found that almost one-quarter (14%) LGBT people have not sought medical treatment because they fear discrimination. Nearly one-fourth (23%) LGBT people have also witnessed healthcare workers making discriminatory remarks or negative comments about them. This also falls on the LGBT history month of February.
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.
Click here for the NHS rainbow hoodie.
To assist other NHS organizations in implementing the scheme, the hospital also created a toolkit. It has already been adopted by more than 100 hospitals, GP surgeries, and clinical commissioning groups across the country.
The Health Secretary Matt Hancock supports the project, as does Dr Ranj, a former Evelina London paediatrician and star of Strictly Come Dancing.
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 “despite improving social attitudes in Britain, LGBT+ people still face significant barriers for accessing healthcare, and this can have an adverse impact on their physical and mental health.”
“Wearing the NHS rainbow badge shows that Evelina London is open, non-judgemental, inclusive and available to all children, young persons, and their families who identify LGBT+, and that we are there for them in all ways.
“It was very important to us that our badges are meaningful. This is why staff who sign up to wear them receive information about LGBT+ health disparities and ways they can tackle them.
“This initiative has already led us to many very positive conversations between staff and patients.” We hope our toolkit will inspire other NHS organizations to use rainbow badges, as they can help reduce stigma and inequality.
Nearly a third (32%) of Evelina London staff signed up for the badge since the scheme was launched. To combat Stonewall’s statistic that nearly 25% of NHS staff had heard their colleagues make negative remarks about LGBT+ persons, a target of 25% was set.
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 to their lives and their mental and physical well-being.
The Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity supports the NHS rainbow badge initiative and provides funding for projects throughout Guy’s & St Thomas’.