In an interview with Nursing Times, Laura Russell who is the head of policy at Stonewall, said using rainbow-coloured lanyards was a “really good way to physically demonstrate inclusion” for LGBT health care staff and patients.
The charity has announced today its latest annual list of the Top 100 Employers for the LGBT community, of which six health and social care organisations feature.
Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust were at the top of the list for the sector at number 28, and as previously reported by Nursing Times, were the first trust to launch the rainbow lanyard initiative for nursing staff in 2015.
Ms Russell from Stonewall said: “One of the things you see regularly in the NHS that I quite like is the inclusive rainbow lanyards.”
“That’s a really good way to physically demonstrate the inclusion for patients as well as staff,” she added.
The 2019 list includes three new entries from the sector and three existing ones from previous years.
“It is really important that employers are visible in their commitment to LGBT inclusion and help ease the pressure for LGBT staff”
Speaking of this year’s list, Ms Russell explained that organisations from the sector who made the top 100, have been recognised for their support to employees who transition in the workplace and for their use of staff networks.
“We have seen that we have quite a lot of foundation trusts and various bits that the NHS have done pretty well to appear in our top 100,” she said.
She stated: “There are lots of things that these particular organisations are doing to make sure that staff, including nurses, are supported in the workplace.”
She described the inclusion of the six health and social care organisations in the list as a “really positive picture”.
Ms Russell explained how some challenges that LGBT people may face in a healthcare setting could include encountering anti-LGBT language from patients or other colleagues.
“We do know that challenges exist in workplaces where a third of LGBT staff have hidden the fact that they are LGBT at work out of fear of discrimination,” she told Nursing Times.
“And almost one in five LGBT staff have been targeted with negative comments from various social colleagues because of their LGBT identity and that will still be the case in some health care employers, so there is still more to do,” she noted.
“It’s great to see that those foundation trusts and boards are already leading the way”
To help tackle challenges in the workplace for those who are LGBT, Ms Russell highlighted the importance of employers’ commitment to LGBT inclusion.
She said: “I think it is really important that employers are visible in their commitment to LGBT inclusion and help ease the pressure for LGBT staff, including nurses.”
“I think that creates more welcoming inclusion environment and they’ll be able to discuss their issues and therefore find ways to resolve them,” she added.
Ms Russell said, as for all organisations, including those outside of the health and social care sector, it was important to invest in diversity and inclusion training and give specific resources that signposts LGBT staff to local support networks and services.
She also noted that monitoring sexual orientation and gender identity was “really important”, so organisations can see whether there are “barriers” for LGBT people in the workplace.
“Like all sectors there is always more that can be done, but it’s great to see that those foundation trusts and boards are already leading the way and can hopefully provide some good examples of good practice for other healthcare employers that are looking at improving inclusion for their LGBT employees,” said Ms Russell.
For a full story on the top 100 employers list read here: