The LGBTQ+ population in the UK experiences significant physical and mental health inequalities compared to the general population. These inequalities extend from increased risk factors for ill health and barriers to accessing healthcare and support, to discrimination against LGBTQ+ staff within the workplace. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated these inequalities and caused significant negative impact on the health and wellbeing of the LGBTQ+ population. Recent NHS Staff Survey data shows that the LGBTQ+ workforce remains at heightened risk of physical violence from patients, and bullying, harassment or abuse from colleagues.
The NHS, along with other health and care organisations, seeks to provide fair access to health and care for all, to improve the health of all parts of the population, and to be an inclusive employer. And yet, the sparse data that currently exists, along with feedback from members of the NHS Confederation’s Health and Care LGBTQ+ Leaders Network, exposes that we are still on that journey.
Leaders of NHS organisations seek support on how to make progress and deliver on their role in creating genuine improvement for staff, patients and the population. The COVID-19 pandemic provided a catalyst for the Health and Care LGBTQ+ Leaders Network, in collaboration with the NHS Confederation’s Mental Health Network, to develop this inclusion framework.
This framework comprises six key pillars of inclusivity that organisations should aim to build to create and maintain inclusive cultures:
- We have visible leadership and confident staff
- We have a strong knowledge base
- We are non-heteronormative and non-cisnormative in everything we do
- We take responsibility for collecting and reporting data
- We listen to our service users
- We proactively seek out partners to co-deliver services