NHS Rainbow Badges

NHS Rainbow BadgeThe NHS Rainbow Badge is an initiative that gives staff a way to show that Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust offers open, non-judgemental and inclusive care for LGBTQ+ patients and their families, as well as LGBTQ+ staff.

LGBTQ+ refers to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, and the + we use to include other related identities such as asexual, aromantic, intersex, etc.

The Rainbow Badge initiative originated at Evelina London Children’s Hospital to make a positive difference by promoting a message of inclusion.

Read all of the information on this page which gives an overview of the issues and why it’s important for all healthcare staff to be aware of them. If you want to take part, sign up to receive an NHS Rainbow Badge to wear at work.

By choosing to wear the NHS Rainbow Badge, you are sending a message that “you can talk to me”. You aren’t expected to have the answers to all issues and concerns but you are a friendly ear, and will know how to signpost to the support available.

Lesbian, gay and transgender (LGBTQ+) patients face inequalities in their experience of NHS healthcare. A 2018 Stonewall survey estimates that one in five LGBTQ+ people are not out to any healthcare professional when seeking general medical care, and one in seven LGBTQ+ people have avoided treatment for fear of discrimination.

Despite the progress made towards LGBTQ+ equality in recent years, many LGBTQ+ people still face significant barriers to leading healthy, happy and fulfilling lives. High rates of poor mental health and challenges when accessing healthcare services are contributing factors.

Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust places a huge value on equality for both staff and patients, including the publishing of the first set of LGBTQ+ Equality Objectives for 2022/23. Increased awareness of the issues surrounding LGBTQ+ people when accessing healthcare on the part of NHS staff can make significant differences to LGBTQ+ people’s experience and, in turn, on their physical and mental health.

Simple visible symbols, such as the NHS Rainbow Badge, can make a big difference for those unsure of both themselves, and of the reception they will receive if they disclose their sexuality and/or gender identity.

It’s not just about wearing a badge; there are simple things we can all do to promote inclusion:

  • Use inclusive language in all discussions
  • Affirm the identity that a person chooses to use
  • Assure confidentiality

You may be the first person someone has ever felt confident enough to open up to about how they feel. For them, it may be one of the most important moments of their life, and how you respond to it is something they will remember.

The badges aren’t designed as a symbol intended to prompt disclosures, but they may prompt a person to disclose information about their own sexuality or gender identity, perhaps for the first time. Wearing a badge doesn’t mean you’ll have all the answers but most importantly you should be prepared to listen and signpost to relevant information.
Occasionally you may feel that a person’s disclosure means that they need more immediate support, or that they are at risk. There is always someone to ask for advice and we recommend contacting one of the following in the first instance: