NHS rainbow badges worn with pride in Warwickshire
South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust (SWFT) has launched the NHS rainbow badge pilot initiative within maternity, children and community health visitor services, in partnership with Warwickshire County Council. This LGBT+ inclusivity scheme was originally launched at Evelina London Children’s Hospital (part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust) and has now been implemented in more than 45 trusts around England.
LGBT+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and the + simply means that the trust is inclusive of all identities, regardless of how people define themselves. The scheme is in response to a Stonewall survey published in 2018 which stated that LGBT+ patients face inequalities in their experience of NHS healthcare.
Staff members who are part of the pilot and chose to wear the special NHS rainbow badge are sending out a clear message to patients that they can talk openly and freely about their sexuality. Healthcare staff undergo specific training before being awarded the badge and then have a responsibility and an opportunity to send a positive message of inclusion to the LGBT+ community.
Becky Hale, Assistant Director, Strategy and Commissioning, Warwickshire County Council said: “The development of the NHS rainbow scheme has been a fantastic team effort between midwives, health visitors, commissioners, community safety, the equalities team, and the equality and inclusion partnership. As the Assistant Director for Strategy and Commissioning, I am keen to ensure we work closely with our providers to support the delivery of high-quality inclusive services for families in Warwickshire. The engagement work with the LGBT+ community shows we have some work to do, however, I am confident the NHS Rainbow scheme is moving us in the right direction.”
Jayne Blacklay, Managing Director at SWFT said: “The launch supported and encouraged people to share their personal experiences which enabled powerful discussions about challenges for the LGBT+ community. It is a great example of organisations and individuals collaborating to ensure we help and support everyone in our area who need our services. The launch was a great success and I am very proud to be part of a trust that offers open, non-judgemental and inclusive care for patients, their families, staff members and service users who identify as LGBT+.”
Dr Mike Farquhar, Consultant in Paediatric Sleep Medicine at Evelina London Children’s Hospital, who helped develop and pilot the Rainbow NHS Badge scheme, said: “It is brilliant to see SWFT launching the rainbow NHS badge scheme, as part of the trust’s ongoing commitment to raise awareness of LGBT+ health issues, and improve the healthcare experience for LGBT+ people.”
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