UHNM has launched the NHS rainbow badge scheme for its staff to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) patients.
The scheme is being rolled out across both sites at Royal Stoke University Hospital and County Hospital in Stafford, and is just one way to show that UHNM is a non-judgemental and inclusive place for people that identify as LGBT+.
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.
The move to introduce the scheme follows a recent Stonewall survey that found that one in seven (14%) of LGBT people have avoided medical treatment for fear of discrimination and almost one in four (23%) have witnessed discriminatory or negative remarks against LGBT people by healthcare staff.
Naomi Duggan UHNM Director of Communications and Charity and Executive Lead for the UHNM LGBT+ network said: "Wearing a NHS rainbow badge is a way for our staff to show that UHNM is an open, non-judgemental and inclusive place for people who identify as LGBT+ and that we are here for them in every way.
"It was really important to us that the badge is meaningful, which is why when staff sign up to wear one they are provided with information about LGBT+ health inequalities and ways that they can help to tackle them.
"The initiative has already led to many extremely positive conversations between our staff and patients and helps staff play a valuable part in reducing stigma and inequality."
Ro Vaughan, Director of Human Resources said: "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 on-going commitment to promoting inclusion and celebrating diversity.
"NHS staff are in the perfect position to be advocates and supporters for LGBT+ people. Increased awareness of the issues LGBT+ people face when accessing healthcare can make a significant difference to their experiences, and, in turn their physical and mental health."
The NHS rainbow badge initiative is being funded by UHNM Charity, which provides funding for projects across both Royal Stoke University Hospital and County Hospital.
Steve Rushton, Charity Manager, said: "We are delighted to support this initiative which shows UHNM Charity's commitment to improving the experiences for all our patients."