On Tuesday 10 September, we were proud to launch our NELFT LGBT+ Allies Scheme, a new initiative within the organisation to support our workforce and our patients, in turn leading to positive patient outcomes.
The NELFT LGBT+ Allies scheme, which comes almost 18 months after the launch of our hugely successful 'Rainbow Lanyard Scheme' is focused around providing colleagues and patients with the best experience by creating a network of 'allies',staff members across NELFT who pledge to support their LGBT+ colleagues, as well as patients who and listen to issues they may be facing.
Educational materials will also be produced to give allies a little more understanding of the different identities of the LGBT+ community and terminology that is acceptable and not. They will also be supported by our NELFT LGBT+ network. along with our equality, diversity and inclusion team to ensure a high level of support.
The end goal is to make NELFT a fully inclusive organisation that is able to attract new LGBT+ talent to increase the current representation in the workforce to match the statistics of the population.
Chaired by our LGBT+ network chair, Mark Lister, the launch event saw speakers from NELFT and Stonewall offer their support for the innovative scheme. Aiden Greenall, client account manager at Stonewall, delivered an insightful presentation into their work around making healthcare organisations inclusive for LGBT+ staff, along with the important role allies can play.
Interim chief executive, Professor Oliver Shanley OBE, also delivered an impassioned speech about the important links between staff satisfaction and patient outcomes and how we should work together to make NELFT an inclusive place to work and receive care.
Mark Lister, chair of the LGBT+ staff network said of the event and the scheme:
"I have been filled with hope after seeing so many faces at the launch of the allies scheme that it will continue to grow in NELFT. I can only hope that out LGBT+ colleagues feel supported by their co-workers after this and further training around continued issues LGBT+ people face in life and the workplace. Although we are in 2019, there is still a growing concern with homophobic, transphobic and biphobic attacks taking place in our local community.
It is so important we all live our best lives and can be who we really are in NELFT. To have the confidence to ask if someone is okay and to mean it. To ask our lesbian colleague how her girlfriend is and what did they get up to at the weekend? To not be shy about asking what somebodies preferred pronouns are. We are all human and I hope we all have the shared desire to learn more about ourselves and each other. To not be closed minded and realise that we are all different and all have our own needs"
We've already seen a fantastic response to the scheme, with many of our staff members pledging their support and signing up to become allies. You can find out more about the event on Twitter at #LGBTAlliesScheme.