Evelina London Children’s Hospital and community services have introduced NHS rainbow badges for its staff to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) patients.
The scheme at the children’s hospital, which is part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, is now being rolled out following a successful pilot that was launched last October.
“Every patient and everyone who works in the NHS should feel welcomed by the NHS”
The move follows a recent Stonewall survey that suggested 14% of LGBT people have avoided treatment for fear of discrimination and 23% have witnessed discriminatory or negative remarks by staff.
The badge is an NHS logo superimposed on the rainbow pride flag and can be worn on lanyards or uniforms.
They idea is that the badges promote a message of inclusion and are a sign that the wearer is someone you can talk to about issues of sexuality and gender identity, said the trust.
When staff sign up to wear the badge they are provided with information about the challenges people who identify as LGBT+ can face accessing healthcare and 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.
“We really hope that our toolkit will encourage other NHS organisations to introduce rainbow badges”
More than 100 clinical commissioning groups, GP surgeries and hospitals from across the country have already expressed an interest in rolling it out, according to the trust.
The project has also been backed by health and social care secretary Matt Hancock, who regularly wears the badge, and Strictly Come Dancing star and former Evelina London paediatrician Dr Ranj.
Mr Hancock said: “Every patient and everyone who works in the NHS should feel welcomed by the NHS, regardless of their gender identity, race or sexual orientation.
“I love wearing my rainbow badge and I wear it with pride,” he said. “I’m delighted to see Evelina London rolling out this fantastic initiative, to ensure no one feels alone or faces prejudice.”
Dr Ranj added: “Young LGBT+ people face greater and more complex challenges than their peers, including in healthcare.
“We need to create an environment where they can feel comfortable, valued and secure, especially when they need help,” he said.
“Small gestures like this mean so much to those that really need it the most,” he said. “Now let’s do it across the whole NHS!”
Evelina rainbow NHS badge
The NHS rainbow badge initiative is supported by the Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity.
Dr Michael Farquhar, NHS rainbow badge initiative lead and sleep consultant, said: “The initiative has already led to many extremely positive conversations between our staff and patients.
“We really hope that our toolkit will encourage other NHS organisations to introduce rainbow badges as they can play a valuable part in reducing stigma and inequality,” he said.
Since the scheme was launched, the trust said that 32% of Evelina London staff had signed up to wear the badge.
A target of 25% was set to combat the Stonewall statistic that almost a quarter of NHS staff have heard their colleagues make a negative remark about LGBT+ people.
Implementation packs are available for other NHS organisations via the Rainbow Badge project team, who can be contacted at RainbowBadge@gstt.nhs.uk