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Staff at children’s hospital wear NHS rainbow badges to support LGBTI people

Staff at children’s hospital wear NHS rainbow badges to support LGBTI people

a woman holds a small badge with a rainbow flag that reads NHS close to the camera

Staff at one of London’ s leading children’s hospitals will wear NHS rainbow badges showing their support for the LGBTI community.

Evelina London Children’s Hospital is rolling out the badges, following a successful pilot at the children’s hospital, launched last October.

The hospital decided to don the badges after a Stonewall survey found that one in seven (14%) of LGBT people have avoided medical treatment for fear of discrimination. It also found almost one in four (23%) have witnessed discriminatory or negative remarks against LGBT people by healthcare staff.

The unveiling of the badges coincides with LGBT history month this February.

The badges feature an NHS logo superimposed over a rainbow pride flag. TV doctor and former pedetrician at the hospital, Dr Ranj, endorsed the badges.

‘Young LGBT+ people face greater and more complex challenges than their peers, including in healthcare,’ he said.

‘As health professionals we have a duty to ensure their wellbeing is paramount in all areas of their lives, so we need to create an environment where they can feel comfortable, valued and secure, especially when they need help.

‘Small gestures like this mean so much to those that really need it the most, and I am beyond proud to be part of something that progresses the culture and values of the Trust.  Now let’s do it across the whole NHS!’

Not just a cute badge

When staff sign up to wear the badge they are provided with information about the challenges people who identify as LGBTI can face accessing healthcare. They also learn what they can do to support them.

The hospital has also created a toolkit to support and encourage other NHS organisations to implement the scheme. Clinical commissioning groups, GP surgeries and hospitals from across the country have already expressed an interest in rolling it out.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock backed the initiative.

‘Every patient and everyone who works in the NHS should feel welcomed by the NHS, regardless of their gender identity, race or sexual orientation,’ he said.

‘I love wearing my rainbow badge and I wear it with pride. I’m delighted to see Evelina London rolling out this fantastic initiative, to ensure no one feels alone or faces prejudice.’

Since the scheme started about 32% of staff have already signed up to get a badge.

‘Despite improving social attitudes in the UK, LGBT+ people can still face significant barriers to accessing healthcare and this can have a detrimental impact on physical and mental health,’ said Dr Michael Farquhar, NHS rainbow badge initiative lead and sleep consultant at Evelina London.

‘Wearing a NHS rainbow badge is a way for our staff to show that Evelina London is an open, non-judgemental and inclusive place for children, young people and their families who identify as LGBT+ and that we are here for them in every way.

‘It was really important to us that the badge is meaningful, which is why when staff sign up to wear one they are provided with information about LGBT+ health inequalities and ways that they can help to tackle them.’

See also:

Scottish young people leading tribute to elders during LGBTI History Month

Catholics urge the Church to change its approach to LGBT young people

Being older and LGBTI – do you feel silenced by younger people?