History of NHS Rainbow Badge (phase 1)

The Rainbow NHS Badge was developed and led from Evelina London’s Children Hospital - part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust by Dr Michael Farquhar. The Rainbow Badge initiative was created to be a way for NHS staff to demonstrate that they are aware of the issues that LGBT+ people can face when accessing healthcare.

The original model emphasised that wearing a badge is a responsibility. It provided basic education and access to resources for staff who wanted to sign up to the project. The information provided outlined the challenges that LGBT+ people can face in relation to accessing healthcare and the degree of negative attitudes which are still found towards LGBT+ people.

When an individual signed up to wear a badge, they acknowledged why the project is needed, and what their responsibility entails. Committing to the project as a whole emphasised that you promote an environment that is open, tolerant and inclusive. The aim of this initiative was to actively break down barriers which LGBT+ people may face within the NHS. The badge itself is intended to be a simple visual symbol identifying its wearer as someone who an LGBT+ person can feel comfortable talking to about issues relating to sexuality or gender identity. It shows that the wearer is there to listen without judgement and signpost to further support if needed.

NHS trusts/organisations who signed up were provided with an Implementation Toolkit to support the project at Trust/organisation level. The Toolkit had all the info Trusts/organisations needed to put the project into practice. Once a Trust signed up to the programme, staff then had to actively sign up for a badge after reading core information, they accepted that it carried a responsibility by completing a pledge.

Partners for phase 2

In 2021 the NHS Rainbow Badge moved from a purely visual symbol, to also incorporating an assessment and accreditation model for NHS Trusts.

Announcing the 2nd phase commencement of NHS Rainbow Badges, Dr Michael Brady, National Advisor for LGBT Health, NHS England and NHS Improvement, said:

‘The NHS Rainbow Badge has been one of the most successful and widespread initiatives in raising LGBT awareness across the NHS.  The badges have received an enormous amount of interest, including participation from over 90% of NHS trusts within just 18 months of the project launching.  This is largely thanks to the visionary work of Dr Mike Farquhar and colleagues at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. I am delighted that we’re able to build on this success by investing in Phase 2 of the project, to support delivery of wider objectives to improve the care and reduce inequalities for LGBT patients, as well as improving experience for LGBT staff. I am really pleased that this new partnership between the LGBT Foundation, Stonewall, LGBT Consortium, Brighton & Hove LGBT Switchboard and GLADD, all of whom have many years’ experience in this field, are taking this work forward.’

LGBT Foundation

Established in 1975, LGBT Foundation exists to support the needs of the diverse range of people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans. They believe in a fair and equal society where all LGBT people can achieve their full potential. #EqualityWins underpins much of what they do and what they aim to be; ‘here if you need us.’ They are a nationally significant charity, firmly rooted in the local communities of Greater Manchester and provide a wide range of evidence-based and cost-effective services.

Each year, LGBT Foundation serve over 40,000 people, achieving an average 98% satisfaction rating, as well as providing information to over 600,000 individuals online. As a result, they serve more LGBT people than any other charity of their kind in the UK. Throughout all of their work, the foundation supports LGBT people to increase their skills, knowledge and self-confidence to improve and maintain their health and wellbeing. They also work in partnership with others to build strong, cohesive and influential LGBT communities.

Working together, they are changing LGBT lives for the better and securing a safe, equal and healthy future for all LGBT people.


Stonewall is a national LGBT charity. Working with institutions to create inclusive environments for LGBT staff, customers, and service users is at the heart of our approach to change. Their world leading Diversity Champions programme works with over 750 UK and 250 global employers, providing guidance on areas including leadership, policies and supporting staff networks. The charities annual Workplace Equality Index allows employers to measure their progress on inclusion. Stonewall’s workplace empowerment programmes train over 2,000 people each year on LGBT inclusion in the workplace. As a leading LGBT charity in the UK, they have extensive experience in delivering long-term communications campaigns that build engagement with the public on the importance of LGBT rights in workplaces, communities and homes.


GLADD are the UK’s organisation that unites and represents LGBT doctors and dentists from all over the country. Their primary aim is to grow a vibrant, welcoming and diverse community, open to anyone who supports the values that we stand for; namely the unification and representation of the LGBT medical and dental communities in the UK. GLADD memberships are open to any doctor, dentist, medical or dental student who supports the values and constitution of what GLADD stands for.

LGBT Consortium

LGBT Consortium are an infrastructure and membership organisation for LGBT voluntary sector organisations and groups, with over 350 members across the country. This extensive network of members allows them to reach LGBT groups working in the local areas of our pilot NHS organisations, and ensures that local LGBT patients can be involved in the development of the Rainbow Badge programme.

Brighton & Hove Switchboard

Switchboard is a charity for LGBTQ people looking for a sense of community, support or information. They connect people and support them directly through specially developed Switchboard services or link them other specialist organisations. Set up in 1975 Switchboard has been listening to and informing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people in Brighton & Hove and beyond. Originally a helpline, they have developed additional services and now offer much more.

Switchboard’s Health Inclusion Project is a consultation and research project that has been working with statutory partners for over 10 years to ensure communities can influence future planning and service design. Switchboard was heavily involved in Brighton’s 2015 Trans Needs Assessment and designed their LGBT Inclusion Award in response. This training and consultancy project recognised inclusion best practice through a community-led, tiered kitemark for health and care services.

Phase 2 pilot scheme

NHS England have commissioned a collaboration, consisting of the LGBT Foundation, Stonewall, the LGBT Consortium, Switchboard and GLADD, to develop and deliver the pilot for Phase II.

This next phase moved to an assessment and accreditation model and allows Trusts to demonstrate their commitment to reducing barriers to healthcare for LGBT people, whilst evidencing the good work they have already undertaken.

During the development of this model, consultation has taken place with patients and professionals over the course of 5 focus groups. We have an engaged patient voices group who will also support the pilot evaluation process.

The assessment structure will involve the following processes:

1. Policy review

2. Staff survey

3. Patient survey

4. Services Survey- Sent to clinical leads for completion based on their area of practice

5. Workforce assessment

The following subjects will be assessed:

  • Clinical service provision: Including Perinatal, Fertility, Oncology, Laboratory, Sexual Health & Gynaecology
  • Workforce inclusion
  • Leadership
  • Sexual Orientation, Gender and Trans Status monitoring
  • Facilities
  • Engagement

  • The information from all aspects of the assessment process will be reviewed and the Trust will receive a graded award reflecting their current LGBT inclusion work. This will be either Bronze, Silver or Gold.

    In addition to the award the Trust will also receive a comprehensive feedback report and action plan, this is designed to help Trusts achieve the next level and should facilitate meaningful change.


    The poster is to explain the badges to patients and visitors their families, designed to be displayed in public areas.

    The following file formats are available:

  • V1 for professional print (with crop marks) [PDF, 4MB]
  • V1 for local print [PDF, 4MB]
  • V2 for professional print (with crop marks) [PDF, 4MB]
  • V2 for local print [PDF, 4MB]

  • Contact Information

    To keep up to date with the developments surrounding the work Rainbow Badge is doing then you can follow the official Twitter page here...
    Or you can email directly at [email protected].