London trust named most 'gay-friendly' healthcare provider
Central and North West London Foundation Trust has been named the most gay-friendly healthcare organisation in England.
The trust came top out of 44 organisations that entered this year’s Healthcare Equality Index compiled by gay rights charity Stonewall.
The index scores organisations against a number of criteria including the way they engage with lesbian, gay and bisexual people, design services with them in mind and improve health outcomes for that group, and support lesbian, gay and bisexual staff.
Stonewall’s report on this year’s index said one example of the good work underway at Central and North West London was the trust’s Gay Men’s Therapy Group. It supports gay and bisexual men with substance misuse problems.
“Frequently men join the group at a time when they are chaotic alcohol and drug users. With support from the group many have achieved abstinence and often a return to employment,” says the report.
The trust also performed strongly in Stonewall’s 2014 Workplace Equality Index, which audits workplace culture for gay staff and was named the highest new NHS employer on the charity’s Top 100 Employers list.
“Every organisation that enters helps tackle inequalities”
Stonewall’s head of policy James Taylor said many lesbian, gay and bisexual people still experience poor treatment and health outcomes when they use the NHS.
But he said standards among organisations that put themselves forward for the index had “significantly increased” since the 2013 list.
“Every organisation that enters helps tackle inequalities and deliver a 21st century health service accessible to everyone, regardless of sexual orientation,” he said.
“We will continue to work to ensure we treat every individual with the respect and expertise due”
Claire Murdoch, chief executive at Central and North West London, which provides services including mental health, sexual health and learning disability services, said: “We are deeply committed to providing compassionate, respectful and expert care to all who receive our services. But this is easy to say and hard to do.
“We have much work to do but you can be sure that we will continue to work with our staff and above all our service users to ensure we treat every individual with the respect and expertise they are due.”
Organisations that entered 2014 equality index included acute trusts, mental health trusts, community services, clinical commissioning groups and independent sector providers.
Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust came second, while national charity St Andrew’s Healthcare was placed third.
One of the successful initiatives at Sussex has seen vital support moved out of a clinical setting with the trust’s teen to adult personal adviser working closely with a local youth charity for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual individuals and meeting up with young people “virtually anywhere”.