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NHS rainbow badges launched at Shropshire hospital

By Lisa O'Brien | Gobowen | Health | Published:

Staff working at Shropshire’s specialist orthopaedic hospital are showing their support for their LGBTQ+ colleagues and patients, with the introduction of the NHS rainbow badge.

Porter Paul Roberts with his badge

The badge, being introduced today at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital near Oswestry, provides staff with a way to show that their place of work offers open, non-judgemental and inclusive care for all who identify as LGBTQ+, and acts as a visual symbol identifying the person wearing it as someone who is there to listen.

As part of the scheme, staff members are being encouraged to sign up for the scheme, signing their own personal pledge to acknowledge the responsibility of wearing a badge and promoting inclusivity.

The launch of the scheme was arranged to coincide with the NHS’ virtual Pride event.

Fiona MacDonald, theatre receptionist, with her rainbow badge

With Pride events being cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, NHS England and NHS Improvement’s LGBT+ staff network is organising ‘NHS virtual Pride’ today from 6pm.

This virtual celebration will feature music, drag, poetry, DJs, comedy, and a few messages of support from some familiar faces.

According to the Stonewall School Report Survey in 2018, LGBTQ+ patients face inequalities in their experience of NHS healthcare.

The survey estimated that one in five LGBTQ+ people are not out to any healthcare professional about their sexual orientation when seeking general medical care, and one in seven have avoided treatment for fear of discrimination.

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Mental health issues such as depression and anxiety are more common in young people who identify as LGBTQ+.

Geraint Davies, specialist Macmillan practitioner on Montgomery Unit

Many young people still feel afraid to disclose their sexuality or gender identity and to ‘come out’ – being unable to do so often increases their risk of physical and mental health problems.

LGBTQ+ stands for lesbian, gay bisexual, transgender and the + simply means that RJAH is inclusive of all identities, regardless of how people define themselves.

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Stacey Keegan, acting chief executive at RJAH, said: “Being a member of the LGBTQ+ community myself, I know how important this initiative is. It’s so much more than just wearing a badge, this is about making sure that the people we are caring for or work at our hospital feel safe but also seen.

“At RJAH, we work hard to create an environment for our staff and patients, that is supportive, open and inclusive, so I am thrilled we have launched this fantastic initiative.

Sarah Cockburn, research study support officer

“We have an incredible, diverse range of staff who give their all to care for our patients and it’s important that we do everything we can to support them.

“I hope this small act can make a big difference to break down any barriers LGBTQ+ people may face within the NHS.”

To get involved in the lead up to NHS virtual Pride, follow @VirtualNHSPride on Twitter, and use the hashtag #NHSVirtualPride to join the conversation.

The link to watch the broadcast will be posted on @VirtualNHSPride (Twitter) and Facebook.

Lisa O'Brien

By Lisa O'Brien
Senior Reporter - @lisaobrien_Star

Senior reporter based at Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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