NHS Rainbow Badge

People are opting out of vital conversations about diversity and inclusivity because they fear looking wrong, saying something wrong, or being wrong. Choosing our own comfort over hard conversations is the epitome of privilege, and it corrodes trust and moves us away from meaningful and lasting change.’ - Brené Brown

What is the NHS Rianbow Badge?

The Rainbow Badge initiative gives healthcare staff a way to show that their place of work offers open, non-judgemental and inclusive care for all who identify as LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, the '+' means inclusive of all identities, regardless of how people define themselves).

Why is it important?

  • When accessing healthcare, LGBT+ people can face inequalities.
  • Research has shown that negative attitudes towards LGBT+ people are still common within the NHS.
  • There are barriers to healthcare and services for LGBT+ people.
  • Half of LGBT people (52 per cent) experienced depression in the last year
  • LGBT people face widespread discrimination in healthcare settings
  • One in seven LGBT people (14 per cent) avoid seeking healthcare for fear of discrimination from staff
  • This means that LGBT+ people can be reluctant to disclose their sexuality and/or gender identity to healthcare workers, which in turn can affect the quality of the care they receive.

How is the NHS Vale fo York CCG implementing the initiative?

You Said, We Did: Locally, research by a 2018 Healthwatch report said that we can improve on the service we offer for LGBT+ people in York and so following this, the CCG has made a 'pledge' to the NHS Rainbow Badge.

Staff have made individual pledges, proudly wear the badge to promote awareness and took part in LBGT+ inclusivity training with Yorkshire Mesmac.

Yorkshire MESMAC, Yorkshire’s largest LGBT+ sexual and mental health charity delivered a 3-hour training session to CCG staff in order to raise awareness regarding issues that LGBT+ people face.

The session covered:

1. How in general we can be more supportive and inclusive of LGBT+ people 

2. What issues LGBT+ people have in accessing healthcare

3. How we can be more confident in working/communicating effectivly with LGBT+ people

4. Ensuring we use the right terminology and definitions

5. Increase our understanding with a view to over-coming barriers

The session also looked at how to stop using heteronormativite language; heteronormativity is the idea that binary gender identity and heterosexual orientation (meaning there are only two sexual orientations and genders) are the norm.  

By increasing our awareness and understanding of the issues LGBT+ people face in healthcare we can ensure we consider equality, diversity and inclusion when making commissioning decisions and we can promote equality, diversity and inclusion with our patient-facing partners.

What responsibility do we have as a CCG?

It is our responsibility to promote equality, diversity and inclusion. By increasing our awareness and understanding of the issues LGBT+ people face in healthcare we can ensure we consider equality, diversity and inclusion when making commissioning decisions and we can promote equality, diversity and inclusion with our patient-facing partners.

As a commissioner of healthcare it is our responsibility to ensure we provide a comprehensive health service, in-line with the NHS Constitution

The NHS provides a comprehensive service, available to all - It is available to all irrespective of gender, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, religion, belief, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity or marital or civil partnership status. The service is designed to improve, prevent, diagnose and treat both physical and mental health problems with equal regard. It has a duty to each and every individual that it serves and must respect their human rights. At the same time, it has a wider social duty to promote equality through the services it provides and to pay particular attention to groups or sections of society where improvements in health and life expectancy are not keeping pace with the rest of the population.’

Links to further information

Vale of York CCG Press Release

Stonewall LGBT Britain Health Report 2018

NHS Rainbow Badge Initiative

Stonewall UK

Yorkshire MESMAC

Healthwatch LBGT+ 2018 report

NHS Constitution