Stonewall has revealed that nearly one-quarter of LGBT Americans (14%) have avoided seeking medical treatment because of fear of being discriminated against. A Stonewall survey also found that almost one-fourth of LGBT patients (23%) had witnessed healthcare staff making negative remarks or discriminatory comments against LGBT persons. It coincides also with LGBT history month in February.
The badge has the NHS logo superimposed onto the rainbow pride emblem and can be worn as a lanyard or uniform. They promote inclusion and show that they are someone you can talk with about sexuality, gender identity, and other issues.
Staff are provided information and support when they sign up for the badge.
To help and encourage other NHS providers to implement the scheme, the hospital has created a toolkit. The idea has been supported by over 100 GP surgeries, clinical commissioning boards and hospitals across the country.
The Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Strictly Come Dancing star Dr Ranj have supported the project.
Dr Ranj explained that “young LGBT+ people face greater, more complex challenges than other peers, including in the healthcare sector. We as health professionals have a duty of care for their well-being in all areas. It is important that they feel safe, valued and secure when they need our help.
“Small gestures, such as these, mean so much to people that truly need it the most. And I am beyond proud that I have the opportunity to help to improve the culture and values within the Trust. Let’s do it across all of NHS!
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Dr Michael Farquhar, lead for the NHS rainbow badge Initiative and Evelina London’s sleep consultant, stated: “Despite improved social attitudes in UK, LGBT+ individuals can still face significant hurdles to access healthcare. This could have a detrimental affect on physical and mentally health.”
“Wearing a NHS badge with a rainbow symbol is a way our staff can demonstrate that EvelinaLondon is an open, nonjudgmental, inclusive place for LGBT+ children and young people. It also shows that we are here to support them in any way they need.
“It was really crucial to us that this badge is meaningful. Therefore, staff signing up to wear one are provided with information on LGBT+ health inequalities. They can also learn about ways they can help.
“The initiative has already resulted in many very positive conversations among our staff and patients. We hope that others NHS organisations will adopt rainbow badges. It can reduce inequality and stigma.
A little over a third (32%) of Evelina London staff have signed on to the badge scheme since its inception. To counter Stonewall, 25% of NHS staff were required to wear the badge. This was in order to reduce the quarter of NHS staff who have heard their colleagues make derogatory remarks about LGBT+ individuals.
Jayne King co-chairs the LGBT+ Forum at Guy’s St Thomas’ NHS Foundation. He stated: “Equality is very important to both our staff as well as our patients. The NHS’s rainbow badge initiative demonstrates the NHS’s support for the LGBT+ community. It also demonstrates our ongoing commitment in promoting inclusion.
“NHS staff is in a unique position to advocate and support LGBT+ individuals. The awareness of the problems LGBT+ people face in accessing healthcare can have a profound impact on their experience and, in turn, their mental and emotional health.
Guy’s Charity and St Thomas’ Charity support the NHS rainbow emblem initiative. They provide funding for projects throughout Guy’s County and St Thomas’.