Staff at the Royal United Hospital in Bath will start wearing NHS rainbow badges from today, Tuesday 17th September, to show support for LGBT+ patients, colleagues and visitors.
The NHS rainbow badge project is a way of demonstrating that the RUH is an open, non- judgemental and inclusive environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
It is a way of signalling that people can feel confident in discussing LGBT+ issues with staff, and will be signposted to the appropriate support if needed.
A recent Stonewall survey, published in November 2018, estimates that nationally one in five LGBT+ people are not out to any healthcare professional about their sexual orientation.
This can make a significant difference for patients, helping healthcare staff to best support all physical and mental health needs.
The launch has been planned by the hospital’s LGBT+ staff network – a forum for staff, including allies, to talk about diversity issues and promote inclusion.
The badges originated at Evelina London Children’s Hospital and are now being adopted at hospitals across the UK.
Director for People Claire Radley said: “The RUH places a huge value on equality for both patients and staff, which is why one of our core values is that ‘everyone matters’.
“I’m delighted that we have been able to support our staff network in launching the NHS rainbow badges at the RUH as a symbol of this.
“It is not just about wearing a badge though. There are simple things we can all do to promote inclusion, like thinking about the language we use.
“All staff at the RUH receive equality and diversity training and we will continue to develop our equality agenda to ensure that every individual receives the highest quality of care, regardless of how they identity.”
LGBT+ Staff Network Chair Steve Dunne-Howells, who works at the RUH as a Discharge Co-ordinator, added: “I’m really pleased that we’re able to introduce the badges at the RUH as a visible symbol of the culture of equality and inclusion.
“Simple things like this can make a big difference for people who may feel unsure about their identity or whether they disclose it.”