NHS Rainbow Badge Partnership a coalition of LGBT Foundation, Stonewall, Switchboard, LGBT+ Consortium and GLADD, having worked with 77 dedicated NHS Trusts across England committed to fostering inclusivity for LGBTQ+ people in NHS secondary care settings, today announces the end of the partnership, due to a lack of funding.
While this news comes with a heavy heart for all the partners, it is important to celebrate the life-changing impact that the NHS Rainbow Badge scheme, in its current guise, has had on countless lives, and the transformative power the project has had on LGBTQ+ people in and out of the NHS.
The overwhelming demand from 35 Trusts currently on the waitlist for the first assessment or reassessment underscores the pressing need for diversity and inclusion initiatives within healthcare settings. This project has been instrumental in creating a more open environment where people can talk about their individual healthcare needs and receive care that is right for them.
While the focus outside of the project has been on diversity initiatives and the use of language, the core of the project and the legacy it will leave has been to allow healthcare professionals to engage with patients in a manner that promotes early intervention and improved healthcare outcomes, better quality of care, higher satisfaction rates among patients, and improved retention levels amongst NHS staff and healthcare workers.
This contributes to the overall success, suitability, and cost-effectiveness of an already stretched NHS, and, importantly, saves lives.
Alex Matheson, Deputy Director of Education, LGBT Foundation and Project Lead said: “I am overwhelmed with pride at what a life-changing difference this project has made to people across England. Despite misconceptions and unforeseen barriers, NHS Rainbow Badge has become a powerful symbol, fostering inclusivity and open, compassionate dialogue in healthcare and has saved countless lives. With 93 assessments conducted, involving 77 Trusts across England, the project has left an indelible mark.
The positive outcomes extend beyond accolades, with 100% of participating Trusts finding the process engaging and informative, and 100% acknowledging the practical benefits of the project. The significant impact achieved is a testament to the passion and commitment of all involved, and we owe a special thanks to the project partners, LGBTQ+ staff networks, and the LGBT Health Team at NHS England for their steadfast support.
“Lived experience has been instrumental in shaping this extraordinary programme, and I express my heartfelt thanks to every LGBTQ+ patient and healthcare worker who contributed. Their unique insights have been invaluable in creating healthcare environments that are not only medically effective but also culturally competent and respectful of diverse identities. This has created an environment where everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, feels seen, heard, and well-cared-for within our NHS.”
The partners express deep gratitude for the unwavering commitment shown by healthcare professionals, which has been a driving force throughout the project. Even with the conclusion of the partnership, the cohorts are actively exploring ways to build upon its legacy as a beacon of positive change, fostering a more supportive and inclusive environment for all.