Rainbow Badges is an initiative that gives NHS staff a way to show that they offer open, non-judgemental and inclusive care for patients and their families, who identify as LGBT. The Rainbow Badge initiative originated at Evelina London Children’s Hospital, part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, to make a positive difference by promoting a message of inclusion.
‘The NHS Rainbow Badge has been one of the most successful and widespread initiatives in raising LGBT awareness across the NHS. The badges have received an enormous amount of interest, including participation from over 90% of NHS trusts within just 18 months of the project launching. This is largely thanks to the visionary work of Dr Mike Farquhar and colleagues at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. I am delighted that we’re able to build on this success by investing in Phase 2 of the project, to support delivery of wider objectives to improve the care and reduce inequalities for LGBT patients, as well as improving experience for LGBT staff. I am really pleased that this new partnership between the LGBT Foundation, Stonewall, LGBT Consortium, Switchboard and GLADD, all of whom have many years’ experience in this field, are taking this work forward.’
Dr Michael Brady, National Advisor for LGBT Health, NHS England and NHS Improvement
LGBT people experience a range of health inequalities throughout their life course which mean they are more likely to need to access healthcare services. These health inequalities are often exacerbated by the barriers that people face when accessing services to treat or support them. This includes things such as a lack of understanding and training on how to properly treat or care for the person, or discrimination or a perception of potential discrimination based on sexual orientation or trans status.
LGBT in Britain – Health Report, Stonewall’s 2018 report based on YouGov research with 5000 lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) people across England, Scotland and Wales about their life in Britain today showed that one in seven LGBT people (14 per cent) avoid seeking healthcare for fear of discrimination from staff.
The Government Equalities Office’s National LGBT Survey (2018) of over 108,000 people found that forty per cent of trans respondents reported having faced at least one negative experience in healthcare in the previous year. The most commonly cited experiences were having specific needs ignored or not taken into account (21%), avoiding treatment for fear of negative reaction (18%), and receiving inappropriate curiosity (18%).
NHS England is committed to addressing this and is evolving the highly successful NHS Rainbow Badge awards scheme with a Bronze/Silver/Gold tiered awards model. Awards will be linked to objectives around LGBT awareness and inclusion within NHS organisations, ensuring that Trusts are implementing the relevant staff training, monitoring, inclusive policies and support for LGBT staff and patients to drive a supportive work and clinical environment.
This partnership brings together a range of sector-leading expertise, this exciting initiative will be led by LGBT Foundation and Stonewall, with support from Switchboard, LGBT Consortium, and GLADD (The Association of LGBT Doctors and Dentists).
The project will combine LGBT Foundation’s Pride in Practice experience in primary care and patient-focused support, Stonewall’s Diversity Champion experience supporting employers and internal staff, and Switchboard’s expertise in engaging with secondary care services.
About the Partners
LGBT Foundation is a national charity delivering advice, support and information services to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities. With a history dating back to 1975, we campaign for a fair and equal society where all LGBT people can achieve their full potential. Since 2011, LGBT Foundation has been supporting the healthcare sector to improve experiences for LGBT patients through our Pride in Practice programme. Pride in Practice (PiP) is a quality assurance support service, endorsed by The Royal College of GPs, which strengthens and develops primary care services’ relationships with LGBT patients.
Stonewall is a national LGBT charity. Working with institutions to create inclusive environments for LGBT staff, customers, and service users is at the heart of our approach to change. Our world leading Diversity Champions programme works with over 750 UK and 250 global employers, providing guidance on areas including leadership, policies and supporting staff networks. Our annual Workplace Equality Index allows employers to measure their progress on inclusion. Our workplace empowerment programmes train over 2,000 people each year on LGBT inclusion in the workplace. As a leading LGBT charity in the UK, we have extensive experience in delivering long-term communications campaigns that build engagement with the public on the importance of LGBT rights in workplaces, communities and homes.
Switchboard’s Health Inclusion Project is a consultation and research project that has been working with statutory partners for over 10 years to ensure communities can influence future planning and service design. Switchboard was heavily involved in Brighton’s 2015 Trans Needs Assessment and designed their LGBT Inclusion Award in response. This training and consultancy project recognised inclusion best practice through a community-led, tiered kitemark for health and care services.
Consortium are an infrastructure and membership organisation for LGBT voluntary sector organisations and groups, with over 350 members across the country. This extensive network of members allows us to reach LGBT groups working in the local areas of our pilot NHS organisations, and ensures that local LGBT patients can be involved in the development of the Rainbow Badge programme.
GLADD are the UK’s organisation that unites and represents LGBT doctors and dentists from all over the country. Our primary aim is to grow a vibrant, welcoming and diverse community, open to anyone who supports the values that we stand for; namely the unification and representation of the LGBT medical and dental communities in the UK.