These rainbow badges worn by Leeds NHS staff are a pledge for equality

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A rainbow badge worn by NHS staff is a visible sign to people who identify as LGBT+ that they have advocates in the people who are treating them.

National statistics show that up to one in seven people who identify as LGBT+ put off seeking healthcare because they’re worried about being judged or discriminated against due to gender identity or sexuality.

This delay can then impact on treatment and care, leading to poorer health outcomes.

The NHS Rainbow Badge is one of several actions being taken by Leeds Teaching Hospitals to ensure that patients who identify as LGBT+ feel safe and supported to access the services and care that they need.

By signing up to wear a badge staff are making a pledge to learn more about the challenges facing people who identify as LGBT+ and to listen to and be advocates for colleagues, patients or visitors when they need help or support.

Over 3500 staff working across Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust have already pledged to promote LGBT+ inclusion and equality through the new NHS Rainbow Badge initiative launched recently.

Director of HR and OD Jenny Lewis said: “I am absolutely delighted that one in five of our staff have already made a pledge to actively support LGBT+ colleagues, patients and visitors with many more still signing up.

“The first step to eliminating discrimination is to openly talk about the challenges we face as an organisation and a society. The NHS Rainbow Badge is a fantastic way to start this conversation - it signals our commitment as a Trust to tackle these issues head-on so we can make the NHS a safe and inclusive place for all, regardless of sexuality or gender identity.” The badges were funded by Leeds Cares, the Trust’s charity partner.