Hundreds of staff from across Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) have pledged to provide a safe, non-judgmental and positive environment for LGBT+ people receiving care by proudly wearing the rainbow NHS badge.
The Trust joined the nationwide initiative in June, and has since held a range of different activities across Norfolk and Suffolk to encourage staff to show their support. Colourful cake stalls have been held at various Trust bases, while a stand-up comedian will take to the stage at Hellesdon Hospital on Friday (26 July) to promote inclusion and raise awareness of the initiative.
The celebrations will draw to a close on Saturday (27 July), when NSFT staff take part in Norwich Pride, where they will promote the initiative as well as job opportunities available across the Trust.
Karn Purvis, NSFT Equality Advisor, said: "We are delighted with the support our rainbow badge initiative has received so far. It shows that our staff are aware of the issues that LGBT+ people can face when accessing healthcare and are committed to providing a safe, inclusive environment where they will be supported if they choose to disclose their sexuality or gender identity.
"Anyone wearing the badge has signed a pledge to say they know how tough it can be, and that they are ready to be a listening ear and help direct people to the best support. People will know that they don't have to worry whether they'll be accepted and valued when they visit us."
An estimated one in five LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other identities) people has not told any healthcare professional about their sexual orientation when seeking care, and one in seven has avoided treatment for fear of discrimination. LGBT+ teenagers are also more likely than their peers to face bullying, self-harm and attempt suicide.
Karn added: "It can be even more difficult to live in rural areas of Norfolk and Suffolk as an LGBT+ person as there are fewer LGBT+ people in rural communities. That is why our Trust is committed to making sure we are a truly welcoming, open, and inclusive place to receive treatment.
"But we also want to harness talent from within these communities by letting people know that NSFT is proud to recruit LGBT+ staff. We are here for you, value you and would love you to join our team, so please come and see us at Pride on Saturday."
Staff who sign up to the initiative are being encouraged to tweet their pledge together with a selfie of them wearing the badge using the hashtag #NSFTPride.
For more information about the Rainbow Badge, click here.
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