A scheme which allows LGBT workers and their allies at a London NHS trust to wear rainbow lanyards has been hailed as a success.

Last year Central and North West London Trust launched a scheme that introduced rainbow-coloured NHS lanyards for staff to reinforce the Trust’s values and promote an environment of openness in all the Trust’s services.

Over a thousand staff members at the CNWL trust now wear the lanyards including 500 straight allies.

Alison Devlin, CN WL’s Equalities and Diversity Manager, said,

“The initiative has been a phenomenal success. Once a few people started wearing the lanyards then they quickly spread across our sites and services.

“The lanyards are completely optional – Staff can choose to wear the rainbow version instead of the standard NHS blue ones to highlight their support for LGBT colleagues, patients and the public and to get people talking about LGBT topics in a more confident and open way.”

Mrs Devlin first came up with the initiative after a Patient Experience Survey, carried out by The Advocacy Project (an independent advocacy organisation) on nine of the Trust’s inpatient mental health wards found that some patients preferred not to be open about their sexuality for fear of judgement from staff and other patients.

Mrs Devlin continues:

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“This report really highlighted the importance of creating a more open environment and a better experience for LGBT patients. As a result of the findings we rolled out LGBT awareness training sessions for inpatient staff which, together with the lanyard scheme, has helped to encourage openness on the wards and transform the patient experience. They give a powerful message to people at a time when they might be feeling at their most vulnerable.”

Lanyards are distributed with an information booklet that explains the scheme and includes signposting information to a variety of local, London-wide and national LGBT organisations. Staff are also automatically signed up to receive Straight Allies bulletins and educational links to further educate them about LGBT equality issues.

Claire Murdoch, CNWL Chief Executive, said:

“This was a really good initiative that raised issues in an unusual but everyday way and quite colourfully. We’re a diverse Trust and these small reminders add to a positive atmosphere.”

The lanyards were rolled out in February 2015 during LGBT History Month and are promoted to staff continuously throughout the year.

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