Stonewall names top LGBT healthcare organisations
Equality charity Stonewall names a mental health charity as most inclusive healthcare organisation in England
A mental health charity has been named England’s most inclusive healthcare organisation by lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people (LGBT) equality charity Stonewall.
St Andrew’s Healthcare came top of Stonewall’s Healthcare Equality Index out of 39 healthcare providers that entered. Organisations were assessed against criteria including patient policy and practice, engagement and communication with gay people, improving the health of gay patients and staff training on gay health needs.
St Andrew's was followed by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust Foundation in second place, Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust in third, County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust in fourth and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in fifth place.
The index helps organisations to measure their progress on equality for their LGBT patients and communities.
St Andrew’s equality, diversity and human resources lead Lindsey Ambrose said the patient-led approach at the charity had brought its success. Initiatives included training sessions on LGB awareness that brought staff and patients together to look at what being denied rights feels like.
‘A lot of time if you are an inpatient there is power imbalance,’ she said. ‘So it helps to develop some empathy. It demonstrates to our patients that we are serious – that everyone has rights and we want them respected.’
St Andrew's also celebrated International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia (IDAHO) on May 17 by inviting people to wear the colours of the rainbow and flying the rainbow flag. In response to an issue raised by a patient, the patient libraries now also provide a range of LGBT literature which patients can order from a reading list rather than in person, to protect their privacy.
Stonewall head of campaigns James Taylor said: ‘Each year the standard in the Healthcare Equality Index increases, so all organisations that have secured top ten positions should be extremely proud.’
RCN head of diversity Wendy Iriwn said: 'Benchmarking indexes and performance tools such as the Healthcare Equality Index remain an important way for healthcare organisations to ensure that they close the gaps in the experiences and outcomes faced by both LGBT staff and patients. We know that eliminating unlawful discrimination, promoting equality of opportunity and good relations between and within different groups is integral to this work.'