The Rainbow Badge Scheme at Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust (BHT) promotes a message of inclusion.
Launching this at BHT shows that the Trust offers open and inclusive care for all patients. Including patients who identify as LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer – the + means inclusive of all identities).
By choosing to wear this badge staff can let patients know ‘you can talk to me’. They might not have answers to all issues and concerns a patient might raise but they can be a friendly ear. They will also know how to signpost patients to support available in the Trust and the community.
LGBTQ+ patients face inequalities in their experience of healthcare. A recent Stonewall survey (published in November 2018) estimates that 1 in 5 LGBTQ+ people are not open about their sexual orientation when seeking general medical care. 1 in 7 LGBTQ+ people have avoided treatment for fear of discrimination.
The UK is making progress towards LGBTQ+ equality. However, many LGBQT+ people still face significant barriers to leading healthy, happy and fulfilling lives. With high rates of poor mental health and challenges when accessing healthcare services a contributing factor. Simple visible symbols, such as the NHS Rainbow, can make a big difference for those unsure of both themselves and of reception they will receive if they disclose their sexuality and/or gender.
The scheme is currently being adopted by over 126 NHS trusts and was originated at Evelina London Children’s Hospital.
Dr Michael Farquar, NHS Rainbow Badge lead and sleep consultant at Evelina London said…
Despite improving social attitudes in the UK, LGBTQ+ people can still face significant barriers to accessing healthcare and this can have a detrimental impact on physical and mental health.
To date, 139 members of BHT staff have gone through the Rainbow Badge Workshop.
BHT places a huge value on equality for staff and patients.