As a health trust marks a special LGBT month, staff have spoken about their own personal experiences and being involved in a new staff support group.
North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust recently set up its own internal network for any member of staff who identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender staff.
LGBT History Month
As the organisation joins the NHS in supporting LGBT History Month, staff are sharing their own stories and raising awareness of the staff support group.
Two staff network members are chief operating officer Levi Buckley and named nurse for adult safeguarding Stuart Harper-Reynolds.
Levi said: “I am proud to work in the NHS – to be making a difference to the lives and health outcomes of people across Teesside.
“I am proud of who we are as an organisation, inclusive to people from all sexual identifies, all genders, as well as all ethnicities and all backgrounds.
“I am lucky to have always felt comfortable about being exactly who I am in the workplace. As a society, we have come so far over recent years but we still need to take more action to avoid prejudice and discrimination for both our staff and patients. But let’s also be proud of how far we have already come and what we have achieved.”
Stuart has worked across the organisation for a number years – including as a nurse ward matron in the accident and emergency team – and is also one of the Trust’s freedom to speak up champion.
He is also chair of the LGBT support network.
He said: “As someone who has worked in the organisation for most of my career, I have seen and experienced dramatic changes in how LGBT people are perceived.
“As a gay man, I was once afraid to speak about and be who I am. I don’t feel that way at all anymore and haven’t done so for many years.
“I am so proud of how far we have come. The staff network is the latest step in this progress we are making.
“It has been a pleasure to be a part of the group, to allow staff to share experiences and support each other and know that they have other staff to turn to should they have any difficulties. The support group is in its early stages, but I am sure with the high level of support and commitment from all involved it will continue to grow.”