NHS Rainbow Badge Pledge

NHS Rainbow Badge

The NHS Rainbow Badge is an initiative that gives staff a way to show that we offer open, non-judgemental and inclusive care for LGBTQ+ patients and their families, as well as LGBTQ+ staff.

LGBTQ+ refers to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, and the + we use to include other related identities such as asexual, aromantic, intersex, etc.

The Rainbow Badge initiative originated at Evelina London Children’s Hospital to make a positive difference by promoting a message of inclusion.

We launched the Rainbow Badges scheme in February 2023 at Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust in February 2024.

You can make your pledge and apply for your badge today.

Read all of the information on this page which gives an overview of the issues and why it’s important for all healthcare staff to be aware of them. If you want to take part, sign up to receive an NHS Rainbow Badge to wear at work.

By choosing to wear the NHS Rainbow Badge, you are sending a message that “you can talk to me”. You aren’t expected to have the answers to all issues and concerns but you are a friendly ear, and will know how to signpost to the support available.

Lesbian, gay and transgender (LGBTQ+) patients face inequalities in their experience of NHS healthcare. A 2018 Stonewall survey estimates that one in five LGBTQ+ people are not out to any healthcare professional when seeking general medical care, and one in seven LGBTQ+ people have avoided treatment for fear of discrimination.

Despite the progress made towards LGBTQ+ equality in recent years, many LGBTQ+ people still face significant barriers to leading healthy, happy and fulfilling lives. High rates of poor mental health and challenges when accessing healthcare services are contributing factors.

Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust place a huge value on equality for both staff and patients. Increased awareness of the issues surrounding LGBTQ+ people when accessing healthcare on the part of NHS staff can make significant differences to LGBTQ+ people’s experience and, in turn, on their physical and mental health.

Simple visible symbols, such as the NHS Rainbow Badge, can make a big difference for those unsure of both themselves, and of the reception they will receive if they disclose their sexuality and/or gender identity.

It’s not just about wearing a badge; there are simple things we can all do to promote inclusion:

  • Use inclusive language in all discussions
  • Affirm the identity that a person chooses to use
  • Assure confidentiality

You may be the first person someone has ever felt confident enough to open up to about how they feel. For them, it may be one of the most important moments of their life, and how you respond to it is something they will remember.

The badges aren’t designed as a symbol intended to prompt disclosures, but they may prompt a person to disclose information about their own sexuality or gender identity, perhaps for the first time. Wearing a badge doesn’t mean you’ll have all the answers but most importantly you should be prepared to listen and signpost to relevant information.

Occasionally you may feel that a person’s disclosure means that they need more immediate support, or that they are at risk. There is always someone to ask for advice and we recommend contacting one of the following in the first instance:

Your responsibilities when making the NHS Rainbow Badge Pledge:

  • I understand wearing a badge gives a positive message of inclusion and means I have a responsibility to be someone who is a friendly ear for LGBTQ+ people and families.
  • I have read the information on this page and explored the support materials for LGBTQ+ people.
  • I understand what to do if I think a situation requires escalation.

By choosing to wear this badge, you are sending a message that “you can talk to me” about issues of gender and sexuality. You aren’t expected to solve all of people’s issues and concerns, but you are a friendly ear and will know how to signpost to support available.

We’d like to collect information about what motivates people to wear a badge. We may use this quote to promote the badges to others.

Trans and non-binary inclusion in the workplace

Please take the time to watch this short video on trans inclusion and the importance of ensuring dignity for trans colleagues in the workplace.

Please do not complete this form on behalf of other people.

This form must be completed by the person requesting the badge so that they fully understand what it means.