Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust is celebrating a year since it launched rainbow-coloured lanyards to “promote an environment of openness”.
In February last year, it became the first trust in the country to launch rainbow-coloured NHS lanyards for staff.
“They give a powerful message to people at a time when they might be feeling at their most vulnerable”
One year on, it said almost 1,000 staff now wear the lanyards, including members of its Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Network, student nurses, occupational therapists on placement and almost 500 straight “allies”.
Alison Devlin, the trust’s equalities and diversity manager, said: “The initiative has been a phenomenal success. Once a few people started wearing the lanyards then they quickly spread across our sites and services.
“The lanyards are completely optional – staff can choose to wear the rainbow version instead of the standard NHS blue ones to highlight their support for LGBT colleagues, patients and the public,” she said.
She added: “They give a powerful message to people at a time when they might be feeling at their most vulnerable.”
Ms Devlin first came up with the initiative after a Patient Experience Survey, carried out on nine of the trust’s inpatient mental health wards, found that some patients preferred not to be open about their sexuality for fear of judgement from staff and other patients.
Rainbow lanyard scheme has ‘promoted openness’
She said the findings had “really highlighted the importance of creating a more open environment and a better experience for LGBT patients”.
As a result, the trust rolled out the lanyard scheme and LGBT awareness training sessions for inpatient staff.
Lanyards are distributed with an information booklet that explains the scheme and includes signposting information to a variety of local, London-wide and national LGBT organisations.
Staff are also automatically signed up to receive Straight Allies bulletins and educational links to further educate them about LGBT equality issues.
Trust chief executive Claire Murdoch said: “This was a really good initiative that raised issues in an unusual but everyday way and quite colourfully.
“We’re a diverse trust and these small reminders add to a positive atmosphere,” she added.