Trust recognised for contribution to LGBTQ+ healthcare with award nomination

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust has been shortlisted for the ‘Positive Impact on LGBT Health award’ at this year’s LGBT Alliance Awards – organised by Teesside charity Hart Gables.

Staff raise the LGBTQ+ flag during Pride.Nominated by a staff member at the local charity, the Trust has been put forward due to its recent work in making its hospitals an inclusive place for members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Over the past few years, the Trust has launched a number of initiatives for employees to ensure inclusion is embedded in its work culture.

In May last year, the Trust asked colleagues across its Stockton and Hartlepool hospitals to pledge themselves as an ally to LGBTQ+ colleagues and patients. All pledges received a specially designed rainbow badge in a bid to show their support to patients and visitors attending the hospitals.

It also launched eight staff networks, including the LGBTQ+ network. These are groups based on protected characteristics which are open to all staff to discuss issues and embed positive, lasting change at the organisation – for the benefit of both employees and patients.

Most recently, the Trust celebrated LGBTQ+ Pride 2022 by launching a series of videos online, highlighting issues and terminology. These included videos around heteronormativity, deadnaming, what it means to be an ally and using pronouns.

Clinical coding officer Matthew Andersen is the chair for the LGBTQ+ network and, alongside his colleagues in the network, has been a driving force behind initiatives to improve on inclusivity at the Trust.

Clinical coder and LGBTQ+ network chair Matthew Andersen.He said: “It really is heart-warming to have the Trust be nominated for an LGBT Alliance Award.

“As a group, the LGBTQ+ staff network’s main aims are to support our LGBTQ+ colleagues, raise awareness of issues and to take action to make our Trust a better place for staff to work and more accessible for LGBTQ+ patients.

“It’s not always obvious if the things we’re doing are having an impact so it’s great to see that everyone’s hard work is paying off!”

Last year, Matthew, a trans man, shared the story of his transition in the Trust’s annual Pride celebrations. He took part in a filmed interview which made local newspaper headlines.

Now, as head of the network, he is already looking towards his next initiatives to ensure the Trust is continuing on its path as an LGBTQ+-friendly organisation. This includes validating the organisation on Stonewall’s UK Workplace Equity Index.

Sarah Lewis, CEO at Hart Gables, said: “North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust has been put forward by a staff member at Hart Gables who has been following their inclusive work over the past few years.

“Matthew Andersen’s candour and sharing of his own experience has been moving and insightful. We firmly believe that his openness will inspire confidence and validation within others.

“The Trust’s LGBTQ+ staff network indicates LGBTQ+ inclusion is embedded into their work culture, meaning all staff members feel valued, respected, and work in an environment where all forms of discrimination will be challenged effectively.”

The LGBT Alliance Awards will take place on Friday 23 September, 6:15 to 8:30pm. Winners will be announced via the charity’s social media pages.

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