Over 3500 staff working across Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust have already pledged to promote LGBT+ inclusion and equality through a new NHS Rainbow Badge initiative launched at the hospitals just two weeks ago.
According to national statistics up to one in seven people who identify as LGBT+ put off seeking healthcare because they’re worried about being judged or discriminated against due to their gender identity or sexuality. This delay in seeking help can impact on treatment and care, and lead to poorer health outcomes.
The NHS Rainbow Badge is one of a range of actions being taken by Leeds Teaching Hospitals to ensure that patients who identify as LGBT+ feel safe and supported to access the services and care that they need.
By signing up to wear a badge staff are making a pledge to learn more about the challenges facing people who identify as LGBT+ and to listen to and be advocates for colleagues, patients or visitors when they need help or support.
Director of HR and OD Jenny Lewis says, “I am absolutely delighted that one in five of our staff have already made a pledge to actively support LGBT+ colleagues, patients and visitors with many more still signing up.
“The first step to eliminating discrimination is to openly talk about the challenges we face as an organisation and a society as a whole. The NHS Rainbow Badge is a fantastic way to start this conversation – it signals our commitment as a Trust to tackle these issues head-on so we can make the NHS a safe and inclusive place for all, regardless of sexuality or gender identity.”
James Greenwood, Chair of the LGBT+ Staff Network says, “We wanted to bring the rainbow badges to Leeds so that we can make sure our colleagues and patients feel safe and supported to be who they want to be. It’s brilliant that so many people have already signed up to make Leeds the most inclusive hospital trust in the country!”
Mother and daughter duo Chris Barber and Katy Crabtree jumped at the chance to sign the pledge. Chris, who is a care coordinator in the gynae-oncology team said: “Both Katy and myself would be heartbroken to think that any of our patients or colleagues feel that they are not given care, compassion and are not respected because of their sexuality or who they chose to identify as.
“Signing the pledge is a wonderful opportunity to let our LGBT+ patients and colleagues know that they will always find someone who they can talk to who will not be judgemental and who have a friendly listening ear.”
The badges were kindly funded by Leeds Cares, the Trust’s charity partner, which has also signed up to the initiative to ensure that its own staff support and champion LGBT+ equality and inclusion.