Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) has launched a diversity week with a showing of transgender art.
Front line workers and managers will attend workshops and seminars in an effort to spread equality and tolerance in the NHS.
Examples of events include NHS Rotherham which will host an exhibition of transgender photography, promising to ‘celebrate the lives of transgender staff and patients’.
NHS North West are promoting an ‘awareness raising timeline’ highlighting achievements of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people who have contributed to health care from ancient Greece to present day.
The timeline will include James Barry, the military surgeon who was discovered to have been born a woman only after his death. Barry was the first British doctor to perform a caesarean section in Africa where both child and mother survived the operation.
Chief executive of the Patient’s Association Katherine Murphy said the health service could not afford an expensive week of events.
She said: ‘Ensuring equality and diversity needs to be one of the fundamental elements of the way an NHS trust operates. It shouldn’t need a costly and distracting week of events and conferences to ensure that this message is communicated effectively.’
British newspaper The Telegraph reported that NHS Employers, the body organizing the diversity week, defended its decision to spend money on equality education in difficult austere times.
NHS Employers Director Dean Royles told the paper: ‘I’m really proud that equality and diversity is something employers take very seriously – NHS staff want to work in an environment that is fair, and diverse.
‘Patients want to be treated without fear of discrimination because of their sexuality, gender, race or religion. NHS organisations recognise that there are large personal and cost implications for not getting this right.’