Showing support for LGBTQ+ patients and staff

Rainbow lanyards and pin badges with the NHS logo are appearing throughout Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust (BSUH) as staff and volunteers show their support for LGBTQ+ patients, carers, visitors and colleagues.

The lanyards and pins are a voluntary way for staff of any sexual orientation and gender identity to indicate that they are a ‘safe listening ear’ for LGBTQ+ patients, colleagues, volunteers and students.

“Although subtle, the rainbow pins and lanyards represent a determination across our Trust to raise the standards of understanding and inclusion for LGBTQ+ people, whether as colleagues or patients,” says Olivia King, Equality Advisor for BSUH.

“From cancer services and end-of-life care, through to the experience of individuals applying for jobs, being visibly open, inclusive and supportive will help to reduce anxieties and improve the care we can offer.

“This is an important initiative for our Trust and I’m delighted by the enthusiastic way colleagues and partners are getting involved. The next delivery of lanyards and rainbow pins is being financially supported by UNITE, UNISON and the Royal College of Nursing in a show of collaboration with this initiative. All three organisations are committed to LGBTQ+ inclusion for staff and patients.”

Creating an inclusive atmosphere where patients feel safe to open up about their sexual orientation and gender identity is especially important for teams caring for young people.

Lorraine Tinker is BSUH’s Divisional Head of Nursing for Children’s Services. She adds:

“Many young LGBTQ+ people say that they do not have an adult they can turn to or confide in and are distressed . We believe that people who work in healthcare can play a key role in making things better.

“The badges were started as a way to signal to children and young people that anyone they have an ear, a voice, an ally and friend to talk to while in hospital. The badge is a reminder that they can talk to our staff about who they are and how they feel.

“Our children’s nursing teams have gender identity training as part of their mandatory training. We take pride in wearing our rainbow badges and lanyards, showing our young patients that we’re open to supporting them in the ways they need.”

Volunteers who work with the Trust, at both the Princess Royal site in Haywards Heath and the Royal Sussex County site in Brighton, have also been keen to show their support.

“Wearing a rainbow pin is such a simple thing to do, but really effective in letting patients and visitors know that we care for everyone equally,” says Kay Masters, who volunteers in the Voluntary Services Office. “I’m very pleased to be known as an ally for LGBTQ+ patients and staff alike, and hope that I can provide the care and support they need.”

For more information about how staff in the Trust’s hospitals champion and support LGBTQ+ patients or colleagues, simply speak to anyone wearing a rainbow lanyard or rainbow NHS lapel pin.