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Health Commissioners make a ‘pledge’ and receive training to increase knowledge on LGBT+ communities

NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is following the NHS Rainbow Badge initiative to educate staff on the health needs of LBGT+ communities and to ensure inclusivity when commissioning services.

In the 2018 Stonewall Survey it was reported that one in seven Lesbian, Gay, bisexual and Transgender (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.

By making a ‘pledge’ to be more inclusive, the CCG has considered how wearing the NHS Rainbow badge needs to increase awareness of the issues faced by LBGT+ communities and offer open, non-judgemental and inclusive care for all who identify as LGBT+.

Dr Nigel Wells, the CCG’s Clinical Chair said: “Research shows us that when accessing healthcare, LGBT+ people can face inequalities and that there are barriers to healthcare services for these communities.  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 this 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.”

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

The session covered how in general staff can be more supportive and inclusive of LGBT+ people, what issues LGBT+ people have in accessing healthcare, how to be more confident in working effectively with LGBT+ people, ensuring use of the right terminology and definitions, and increasing understanding with a view to over-coming barriers.

Rosie Ellingham, Training and Communication Coordinator, Yorkshire MESMAC said: “The Rainbow Badge initiative is a great way to be a visible ally to LGBT+ staff and patients in healthcare. The training Yorkshire MESMAC provided to the CCG discussed the history of the LGBT+ community, as well as addressing some of the problematic stereotypes LGBT+ people face, ensuring healthcare staff are aware of the issues the LGBT+ community face when accessing healthcare services. We hope that the training offered alongside the Rainbow Badge initiative will be beneficial for staff in patient facing roles, staff designing services and staff communicating health messages to the wider public.”

More information on the NHS Rainbow Badge can be found on the CCG website: www.valeofyorkccg.nhs.uk/about-us/rainbowbadge

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