Identifying and actioning the needs of your LGBTQ+ staff

Details on using the NHS Staff Survey data to better understand the experiences of your LGBTQ+ people.

12 July 2022

National data indicates that staff who identify as LGBTQ+ have a more negative work experience than their colleagues. It is therefore essential that NHS organisations take the time to analyse their local data, see what additional support their LGBTQ+ staff need and assure themselves they are addressing any inequalities.

The NHS Staff Survey provides valuable data on the experience of staff working in the NHS. There are tools within the survey that allow organisations to get useful information on how staff identify in terms of sexual orientation and gender identity, which could help you to better understand the experiences of your LGBTQ+ people.

The overall results of the NHS Staff Survey are grouped under themes linked to the NHS People Promise plus a staff engagement and a morale indicator. For each of these measures, results are converted to a ten-point scale. The results for LGBTQ+ staff are generally lower than for their colleagues. For example, on the NHS People Promise indicator ‘we are compassionate and inclusive’ the overall score for lesbian and gay staff is 7.1 compared to 7.3 for heterosexual colleagues. The scale of the gap varies by indicator, with the biggest gap being on health and wellbeing where the score for heterosexual staff is 6 compared to 5.6 for lesbian and gay staff and the gaps in experience for transgender staff are even wider and there is also a gap in experience for those identifying as bisexual.

The full set of scores at national level for each of the NHS People Promise indicators and individual questions by both sexual orientation and gender identity can be found using the tool below. There is also an interactive report on the NHS Staff Survey centre website which allows organisations to understand and analyse their data in more depth and see how they compare with others.

NHS Staff Survey 2021 national dashboards | Tableau Public

For individual organisations it may be more useful to look at the data by organisation. This can be found in the local dashboard interactive tool. By using this data organisations can see the scale of the gap in their organisation and how it has changed over time. They can use this to compare with trusts of a similar type. The data shows much smaller gaps in some trusts than others indicating that interventions can make a difference.

NHS Staff Survey 2021 local dashboards | Tableau Public

Unlike for race equality and disability equality where some calculations on differential experience are supplied to trusts as part of the NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) and Workforce Disability Equality Standard (WDES) processes, for LGBTQ+ staff trusts currently have to undertake this analysis themselves.

Further information

After the first wave of COVID-19, the Health and Care LGBTQ+ Leaders Network and Mental Health Network convened a roundtable of leaders to explore how best health and care organisations could support the LGBTQ+ population once the pandemic had abated. Based on peer learning, this inclusion framework summary details the practical steps organisations can take to implement the six recommendations identified to make NHS services and working environments more inclusive for LGBTQ+ staff and service users.

Blog by Dr Layla McCay - What experience do LGBTQ+ people have in the NHS these days?

Analysis undertaken on behalf of NHS Employers has highlighted positive examples of more equal staff experience for LGBTQ+ staff including these case studies:

If you have a good example to share in this area, please email NHS Employers at