Rainbow Warriors with pride at Western Sussex Hospitals

Tuesday July 9, 2019

July is LGBT+ PRIDE month and this year staff at Western Sussex can pledge to be Rainbow Warriors to show their support for LGBT+ patients, carers, visitors and colleagues.

The Rainbow Warrior initiative originated at the Evelina London Children’s Hospital and is now spreading across the NHS as other organisations borrow the idea ‘with pride’!

The aim is to make a positive difference by promoting a message of inclusion to the LGBT+ community, with Rainbow Warriors prominently wearing their rainbow lanyards or pin badges.

Rainbow Warriors has got off to a flying start at Western Sussex Hospitals

The idea was first introduced to Western Sussex at this year’s staff conference, after the trust’s executive team, Diversity Matters steering group, and LGBT+ forum enthusiastically supported it.

“Rainbow Warriors has got off to a flying start at Western Sussex Hospitals with more than half of those who attended staff conference asking to become one,” said organisational development manager Nikki Kriel.

“And this is only the beginning because as more staff wear the colourful lanyards and pins we know more and more colleagues will want to be involved.”

Wearing the rainbow is a voluntary way for staff of any sexual orientation and gender identity to indicate they are a ‘safe listening ear’ for LGBT+ patients, colleagues, volunteers and students.

Trust board secretary, Tanya Humphreys, (pictured far left, below) was inspired to sign up after attending an inclusion cafe at conference hosted by transgender activist Sophie Cooke.

Tanya said: “After listening to Sophie’s story, which I found so inspiring, I thought that showing that I could be there to offer support to a colleague, or patient that needs to talk, is the least I could do.”

Sadly, LGBT+ patients face inequalities in their experience of NHS healthcare.

A recent Stonewall survey estimates 1 in 7 LGBT+ people have avoided treatment for fear of discrimination.

Other worrying statistics include:

  • Almost 1 in 4 patient-facing staff have heard their colleagues make negative. remarks about LGBT+ people.
  • Nearly half of LGBT+ teenagers report being bullied at school for being LGBT+.
  • Almost 1 in 4 LGBT+ people have witnessed discriminatory or negative remarks against LGBT+ people by healthcare staff.

Visual symbols, however, such as the rainbow pin badge and lanyard, are a clear and effective way to signal to LGBT+ people they are in a positive, inclusive and safe environment.

To find out more, or if staff wish to make the pledge to be Rainbow Warrior, please search on StaffNet for “Rainbow Warriors” or email StaffEngagement@wsht.nhs.uk.

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