Inclusive working environment benefits patients and staff alike

Six years ago, the NHS was not represented on Stonewall’s index of the top 100 British gay-friendly employers. Things have changed, as Jennifer Sprinks reports

Six years ago, the NHS was not represented on Stonewall’s index of the top 100 British gay-friendly employers. Things have changed, as Jennifer Sprinks reports.

Abstract

Nurse Stuart Gray, deputy director of governance at Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, believes his openness about being gay has never hindered his career progression.

As chair of the trust’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) inclusion network, Mr Gray wants all staff in the organisation to feel comfortable disclosing their sexuality should they wish to. ‘Sexuality is an important part of who you are, but it does not define you. People should be judged for their capability rather than for their sexuality,’ he says.

The LGBT network, comprising a core group of 16 people, plays an active role in making sure the trust responds to all LGBT staff needs. It also provides one-to-one support and mentoring.

‘We encourage people to put themselves forward for opportunities and to attend leadership development programmes,’ Mr Gray says.

‘Sometimes people ask if we can meet for a coffee after the six-weekly meeting to discuss personal things or any problems they have.’

The trust has reviewed all its policies and processes, including human resources and procurement, to ensure they promote equality for all patients and staff. For example, the trust demands that all suppliers have equality and diversity policies in place.

This year marks the first time the trust is one of equality charity Stonewall’s top 100 gay-friendly employers.

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This article was first published in print in Nursing Standard: volume 28, issue 20

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