Hospital staff wear Rainbow Badges with pride

17 May 2019
Staff at Addenbrooke’s and Rosie hospitals have been signing up to wear NHS Rainbow Badges with pride this week.

The Rainbow Badges are a way for staff to show that Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH) is an open, non-judgemental and inclusive place for people that identify as LGBT+.Giles Thorpe, deputy chief nurse at Cambridge University Hospitals, wearing his Rainbow Badge.

LGBT+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and the + means inclusive of all identities, regardless of how people define themselves.

Staff were invited to sign up for the badge on IDAHOBIT Day (May 17), the  international day against homophobia, transphobia and biphobia. The launch event was organised by members of the Trust’s LGBT+ and allies staff network. 

Monica Jacot, CUH lead for equality, diversity and inclusion, said: “The Rainbow Badge initiative is a way for NHS staff to demonstrate that they are aware of the issues that LGBT+ people can face when accessing healthcare.

“The badge itself is intended to be a simple visual symbol identifying its wearer as someone who an LGBT+ person can feel comfortable talking to about issues relating to sexuality or gender identity. 

“It shows that the wearer is there to listen without judgement and signpost to further support if needed.”

When staff sign up for the badges 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.

Giles Thorpe, deputy chief nurse, said: “I have signed up to the NHS Rainbow Badge because, as a member of the LGBT+ community, I know how difficult it can be to find someone to talk to and get support.  I am proud to wear the NHS Rainbow Badge so I can help other people in my community, whilst visibly challenging negative attitudes and behaviours.”

Dr Ewen Cameron, executive director of improvement and transformation, added: “I have signed up to wearing the NHS Rainbow Badge because I want to help promote an open, tolerant and inclusive environment for our LGBT+ patients and staff here at CUH.”

Dr Ashley Shaw, medical director, has also signed up to wear the badge as a refection that everyone is equal.

The NHS Rainbow Badges initiative was created by staff at the Evelina London Children’s Hospital with the help of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity funding.

They were introduced following a report by Stonewall, Britain’s leading charity for lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality, which showed almost a quarter of NHS staff have heard their colleagues make a negative remark about LGBT+ people. 

It also revealed one in seven LGBT+ people have avoided seeking NHS care because they were concerned they would experience discrimination.

The badge is an NHS logo superimposed on the rainbow pride flag and can be worn on lanyards or uniforms. 

To date 20 per cent of NHS Trusts in England have either already launched, or are actively planning a NHS Rainbow Badge launch.

Implementation packs are available for other NHS organisations via the Rainbow Badge project team, who can be contacted at RainbowBadge@gstt.nhs.uk.