Launched last week, the trust hopes that by wearing the badges, nurses and other healthcare professionals, will send out a “powerful message” of “support and inclusion” to the LGBT+ community.
“I’m delighted to see so many of our staff wearing their rainbow badges with pride”
The badge is an NHS logo superimposed on the rainbow pride flag and can be worn on lanyards or uniforms.
Staff at the trust’s Medway Maritime Hospital will be wearing the badges as a visual symbol to identify them as someone an LGBT+ person can feel comfortable talking to about issues relating to sexual orientation or gender identity.
It indicates that the wearer will listen without judgement and signpost to further support if needed, the trust noted.
Staff who sign up to the scheme are provided with basic education and access to resources.
The trust’s head of equality and inclusion, Alister McClure, said: “I’m delighted to see so many of our staff wearing their rainbow badges with pride.
“This sends out a powerful message to LGBT+ patients, carers and relatives; a message of support and inclusion.”
As previously reported by Nursing Times, the Evelina London Children’s Hospital and community services introduced the rainbow badges in February this year.
The scheme at the children’s hospital, which is part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, was rolled out following a successful pilot that was launched in October last year.
The national scheme comes in response to a study by the charity Stonewall in 2018 that found one in seven LGBT+ people avoided seeking healthcare for fear of discrimination from staff, while almost one in four witnessed discriminatory or negative remarks against LGBT+ people by healthcare staff.
As well as the badges, some trusts are using rainbow-coloured lanyards. In an interview with Nursing Times earlier this year, the charity said that using the lanyards were a “really good way to physically demonstrate inclusion” for LGBT health care staff and patients.
Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust was the first trust to launch the rainbow lanyard initiative for nursing staff back in 2015.