Stonewall recently conducted a survey and found that nearly one in seven LGBT individuals (14%) avoided treatment due to fear of discrimination. Nearly four in ten (23%) LGBT persons have been subjected to discriminatory or negative comments by healthcare personnel. It coincides with LGBT History Month this February.
The badge displays the NHS logo overlaid on the rainbow pride banner and can be worn on uniforms or lanyards. They encourage inclusion and signal that someone can be reached for help with issues of sexuality or gender identity.
The badge is given to staff when they sign up to wear it. It includes information about the barriers LGBT+ may face to accessing healthcare, as well as how they can support them.
The hospital also developed a toolkit that will help other NHS institutions implement the scheme. Over 100 hospitals, GP practices and clinical commissioning organizations across the country expressed interest in the scheme’s rollout.
The project was supported by Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, and Dr Ranj, an Evelina London paediatrician.
Dr Ranj stated, “Young LGBT+ individuals face greater and more complicated challenges than their peers, even in healthcare. As health professionals, our duty is to ensure that their wellbeing is paramount in all aspects. We must create an environment where they feel safe, valued, and secure, especially when they require help.
“Small acts of kindness like these mean so much for those who truly need it most. It is an incredible honor to be part of something which advances the culture of the Trust’s values and culture. Let’s get it done across the whole NHS!
Dr Michael Farquhar (lead of the NHS Rainbow Badge Initiative and Evelina London sleep consultant) said: “Despite improvements in social attitudes, LGBT+ people may still face significant obstacles to access healthcare. This can have a detrimental effect on both physical and psychological health.”
“We are proud to present the NHS rainbow badge as a symbol of our support for LGBT+ children, youth, and families.
“It was important that the badge be meaningful to us, so when staff sign up for one, they are given information about LGBT+ health inequalities as well as ways that they can help tackle them.
“The initiative has already facilitated many positive conversations between our staff members and patients. We are hopeful that other NHS organisations will use our toolkit to encourage rainbow badges. They can be a valuable tool in reducing inequality and stigma.
A third (32%) of Evelina London staff has signed up to the badge since it was launched. To counter the Stonewall statistic, which shows that 25% of NHS staff have made a negative comment about LGBT+ people, a goal of 25% was set.
Jayne King (head of security, co-chairing the LGBT+ forum at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust) stated that “Equality for both staff and patients is extremely important for us. The NHS Rainbow badge initiative demonstrates how we support the LGBT+ communities and our ongoing commitment toward promoting inclusion and celebrating differences.
“NHS staff are well-positioned to advocate and support LGBT+ persons. A greater awareness of the difficulties LGBT+ people have accessing healthcare can make an important difference in their experiences and, consequently, their physical and psychological health.
The Guy’s-and St Thomas’ Charity is supporting the NHS rainbow badge program. It provides funding for projects in Guy’s or St Thomas’.
NHS rainbow clothing can be purchased at Wipeout Creations.