NHS organisations across Bradford, Airedale and Craven are uniting to promote inclusivity and reduce health inequalities for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) people who access healthcare by launching the NHS Rainbow Badge initiative.
Six local NHS organisations are working together to launch the Rainbow Badge on Friday, October 4.
The launch of the scheme will raise awareness among NHS staff of the health inequalities facing LGBT+ people and ensure individuals feel safe and included when accessing healthcare.
Despite the progress made towards LGBT+ equality in recent years, many LGBT+ people still face significant barriers to leading healthy, happy and fulfilling lives, with high rates of poor mental health and challenges when accessing healthcare a contributing factor.
The NHS Rainbow Badge is a special rainbow edition of the NHS logo. Badges are handed to NHS staff who have pledged to reduce inequalities and provide support and signposting to LGBT+ people.
The local NHS organisations rolling out the scheme are Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust (BDCFT), and NHS Bradford district and Craven CCGs.
Staff are already signing-up for training and awareness sessions on the health inequalities LGBT+ people face when accessing healthcare, how to provide help and where to signpost to local support.
Karen Dawber, Chief Nurse at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, LGBT+ role model and Staff Network member, said: “Increased awareness of the issues surrounding LGBT+ people when accessing healthcare on the part of NHS staff can make significant differences to LGBT+ people’s experiences and, in turn, their physical and mental health.
“Staff who wear a badge will have received training in the health inequalities facing LGBT+ people and although they won’t have all the answers to everyone’s questions, they’ll have a good understanding and local knowledge of where someone can get additional help and support.
“We should also remember the LGBT+ staff who work within our organisations. The rainbow badge gives a clear message that we are inclusive for patients, carers, staff, service users and the public.”
Brendan Brown, Chief Executive of Airedale NHS Foundation Trust and the system partnership in that area, added: “I am delighted to see that our healthcare providers across the whole Bradford district and Craven system have come together to make such a positive and public step forward to promote inclusion and celebrate diversity.
“This is about so much more than a new pin badge for staff to wear. It’s about supporting LGBT+ people to feel more confident and comfortable in approaching a member of staff wearing a NHS Rainbow Badge.
“It’s about celebrating the diversity in our own workforce and showing that we support and respect our staff who we want to empower to be themselves.
“We will work together to improve the experiences of LGBT+ people so that we continue to make sure that all members of our local communities are happy, healthy and at home in Bradford district.”
Darryll Monroe, Advanced Nurse Practitioner Prescriber and Chair of the LGBT+ Network at Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust, has been involved in developing the initiative locally and said: “The rainbow badge initiative is a powerful way of demonstrating our commitment to being inclusive and celebrating diversity across our Trust and our wider healthcare system, both to our patients and our staff.
“Everyone is equal and deserves to be treated with compassion and respect. Wearing the badge is my commitment to making that happen – and promoting a diverse and inclusive workforce.”
Helen Hirst, Chief Officer at Bradford District and Craven CCGs, said: “We are committed to promoting inclusion and celebrating diversity, as are all the partners involved in the launch of the NHS Rainbow Badge locally, and this is a great example of how we’re working together to positively improve patient experience across all our local services.
“We’ve made an intentional decision to do this ‘as a system’, which means no matter which hospital you access or which health team you speak to, you are likely to see a rainbow badge and you can feel safe that the person wearing it is committed to understanding your needs and helping you get the right care.”
The scheme has been developed locally by staff across all six organisations, including members of the LGBT+ Networks at all three NHS trusts.