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Northumbria leader celebrates LGBT History Month with personal testimony

Tuesday, 14 February, 2017
Northumbria leader celebrates LGBT History Month with personal testimony

A senior healthcare leader has published a candid and personal testimony to raise awareness of equality and diversity in the workplace.

In a blog published on NHS Employers’ website, Patrick Price, general manager and equality and diversity lead at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, explains how open conversations with colleagues have led to lesbian gay bisexual and transgender (LGBT) staff at the trust experiencing greater levels of job satisfaction, and increased their confidence in career progression opportunities.

In ‘No more awkward silences – opening the door to open conversations’ Patrick, who is the trust’s LGBT champion, describes how his own experience of being out in the workplace has helped to inform the support available for LGBT colleagues across the trust.

Patrick said: “Luckily I work in a trust that actively encourages the values of respect and inclusion, and have had support from the very top of the organisation to implement changes needed to make LGBT staff feel that they are valued along with their peers.

“We have revised policies to reflect the specific needs of LGBT staff and have updated our training programmes and our induction process to ensure everyone is aware of the need to treat colleagues and patients with dignity and respect, regardless of sexual orientation.”

Patrick’s blog is published in the LGBT equality in the workplace section of the NHS Employers website to celebrate LGBT History Month.

Held annually in February, LGBT History Month provides an opportunity to promote equality and diversity, to raise awareness of issues that exist within the workplace, and also to share in the success of trusts that are leading the way with their equality and diversity agenda.

Patrick said: “We still recognise that things can always be improved, LGBT History Month gives us a further opportunity to challenge assumptions, and to present our experiences in a real way that is grounded in the lived experiences of our LGBT workforce. Our visibility and that of our peer supporters sends a clear message to other staff and patients that we are welcome and valued.”

In the last year, the trust has promoted equality and diversity in a range of ways including building a community role models network for people who identify LGBT or Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) to help improve access to healthcare and promote positive roles, taking part in Northern Pride Week, and raising awareness of the equality and diversity support available for staff.

Ann Stringer, executive director of human resources and organisational development at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “As a trust, we are committed to promoting equality and celebrating difference and we work extremely hard to ensure that every one of our staff has a voice and are listened to.

“I hope that Patrick’s words will inspire people across the trust and beyond.”

The trust was placed in Stonewall’s 2017 Workplace Equality Index which lists the top 100 employers in the country for LGBT staff. The trust first entered the top 100 in 2014.