Committed to improvement

‘Everyone is welcome here’. This is the clear message from Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust (BSUH) as it submits an application to gain one of the UK’s most prestigious markers for LGBTQ+ workplace equality.

In February this year, BSUH made a clear commitment to building on its impressive performance in Stonewall’s 2019 Workplace Equality Index (WEI) scheme, where it scored highly enough to be ranked 143 out of 445 entrants.

“This was an excellent foundation and starting point, but we wanted to go further,” said Denise Farmer, Chief Workforce and Organisational Development Officer for BSUH.

“We made a firm promise to our staff, and to our patients, that we would act on Stonewall’s guidance to improve our score and continue to make our trust better all the time.”

Since February, BSUH has worked at pace to address Stonewall’s recommendations. A few examples of work evidenced in the WEI Top 100 application include:

  • Partnering with Brighton and Sussex Medical School to run an LGBTQ+ focused healthcare learning and development seminar programme, tackling health inequalities experienced by LGBTQ+ individuals
  • Updating important Trust documents using gender-neutral language, ensuring that they are equally applicable for all members of staff
  • Launching an LGBTQ+ Mentoring programme, addressing a national trend for LGBTQ+ staff to lag behind non-LGBTQ+ colleagues in workplace pay or progression
  • Publishing Staff Stories from LGBTQ+ colleagues throughout the organisation, supporting the visibility of LGBTQ+ individuals at all levels from ‘Board to the Ward’
  • Progressing towards a pioneering approach to public sector recruitment, supporting all forms of diversity in the trust’s supply chains

“This has been a substantial programme, and while there is still more to do, I’m proud of everything that we have been able to evidence,” continued Denise.

“Our focus is always on improving patient care. To do this, we need our staff to feel supported, to experience the benefits of working for a diverse organisation and to know that we do everything possible to help them deliver their best work.

“We have built on the work we launched last year to improve the workplace experience of our BME colleagues. That work is ongoing and everything it taught us has enriched our Stonewall application. This trust is on a journey of continuous improvement, and we are using every tool at our disposal to accelerate our progress.”

The scores for this year’s WEI applications will be announced by Spring 2020. More information about support for LGBTQ+ individuals at BSUH can be found online: