Guy's and St Thomas' celebrates Pride with NHS rainbow badge blimp


Posted on Monday 8 July 2019
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Guy's and St Thomas' staff with the rainbow badge blimp

Guy’s and St Thomas’ celebrated the huge success of the NHS rainbow badge scheme by taking a giant inflatable badge to Pride in London.

Staff from Guy’s and St Thomas’ took the 4m x 2m inflatable to the event on Saturday (6th July) to show support to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) staff and patients.

The NHS rainbow badge scheme was developed by Evelina London Children’s Hospital and rolled out across the Trust in February during LGBT history month.

Despite only launching around four months ago, more than 3,000 Guy’s and St Thomas’ staff, which includes Evelina London, are already wearing the badge and around one in three NHS trusts in England have also launched the scheme or are planning to roll it out using a special toolkit developed by the Trust.

The badge is an NHS logo superimposed on the rainbow pride flag and can be worn on lanyards or uniforms. They promote a message of inclusion and are a sign that the wearer is someone you can talk to about issues of sexuality and gender identity.

When staff sign up to wear the badge they are provided with information about the challenges people who identify as LGBT+ can face accessing healthcare and what they can do to support them.

A Stonewall survey found that one in seven LGBT+ people have avoided medical treatment for fear of discrimination, and almost one in four have witnessed discriminatory or negative remarks against LGBT+ people by healthcare staff.

Jayne King, head of security and co-chair of the LGBT+ forum at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It was an honour to see so many LGBT staff and allies marching underneath the NHS rainbow badge, whilst celebrating the diversity that enriches the work of the Trust.

“Equality for both our staff and patients is extremely important to us and the NHS rainbow badge initiative demonstrates our support for the LGBT+ community and our ongoing commitment to promoting inclusion and celebrating diversity.”

The project has been backed by the Department of Health and Social Care, and Strictly Come Dancing star, and former Evelina London paediatrician, Dr Ranj.

Dr Michael Farquhar, NHS rainbow badge initiative lead and sleep consultant at Evelina London, said: “It’s absolutely brilliant to see so many of our staff choosing to wear the rainbow NHS badge since we launched the project across Guy's and St Thomas' in February and to see the project spreading so rapidly to other NHS hospitals and organisations. We hope that the principles embedded in the project help to improve the care we provide to LGBT+ people across the NHS, and to be a small part of a wider solution addressing the inequalities and stigma that we know LGBT+ people can still face.”

Implementation packs are available for other NHS organisations via the Rainbow Badge project team, who can be contacted at RainbowBadge@gstt.nhs.uk.

The NHS rainbow badge scheme and blimp was funded by Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity.

LGBT+ stands for lesbian, gay bisexual, transgender and the + means that we are inclusive of all identities, regardless of how people define themselves.

Evelina London is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. The hospital was founded in 1869 as Evelina Hospital for Sick Children by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild, whose wife, Evelina, died along with their baby in childbirth.

Find out how Evelina London will be celebrating its special birthday.

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