NHS organisations across the district are uniting to promote inclusivity.

Six health bodies are joining forces in a scheme which aims to tackle healthcare inequalities for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) people.

The Rainbow Badge initiative – which is launched tomorrow – will raise awareness among staff, and strive to ensure everyone feels included and safe when accessing healthcare.

A national survey has found that one in seven LGBT+ people have avoided seeking treatment for fear of discrimination.

The Rainbow Badge venture originated at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London, which created it in partnership with Evelina London Children’s Hospital.

The badge, a special rainbow edition of the NHS logo, is handed to staff who have pledged to reduce inequalities and provide support and signposting to LGBT+ people.

Behind the rolling-out of the scheme locally are Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, the NHS Bradford district and Craven clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust and the Bradford Teaching Hospitals trust.

Staff are already signing-up for training and awareness sessions.

Helen Hirst, chief officer at Bradford district and Craven CCGs, says all the partner organisations involved are committed to promoting inclusion and celebrating diversity.

She added: “This is a great example of how we’re working together to positively improve patient experience across all our local services. Simple symbols like the rainbow are a great way of sending a signal to people that they are in a positive, inclusive and safe environment.

“The badge sends a public and visual message to LGBT+ people that we will support them to talk about things they might have otherwise felt unsure or uncomfortable disclosing. It is also a prompt to start conversations among staff about how we can work together to improve the experiences of LGBT+ people when they use the NHS.”

Darryll Monroe, advanced nurse practitioner prescriber and chairman of the LGBT+ Network at Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust, was involved in developing the venture locally.

He said: “The rainbow badge initiative is a powerful way of demonstrating our commitment to being inclusive and celebrating diversity across our trust and our wider healthcare system, both to our patients and our staff. Everyone is equal and deserves to be treated with compassion and respect.”

Brendan Brown, chief executive of Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, welcomed the scheme as a “positive and public step forward”.

He added: “This is about so much more than a new pin badge for staff to wear. It’s about supporting LGBT+ people to feel more confident and comfortable in approaching a member of staff wearing a rainbow badge and about celebrating the diversity in our own workforce.

“We want to work together to make people feel safe and welcome, but also to understand where we can make services more inclusive and accessible to all as part of a wider conversation across our health system.”