North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust is continuing its work in creating an LGBTQ+ friendly environment for its services after an awards ceremony recognised its contribution to healthcare within the LGBTQ+ community.
While the award was ultimately won by Tees Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust, the Trust was nominated by a staff member at the local charity for its recent work in making its hospitals an inclusive place for members of the LGBTQ+ community.
This includes the launch of a staff network – an open forum group for staff who identify as LGBTQ+ to discuss issues and embed positive, lasting change at the organisation for the benefit of both employees and patients.
Clinical coding officer Matthew Andersen is the chair for the LGBTQ+ network and, alongside his colleagues in the group, has been a driving force behind initiatives to improve on inclusivity at the Trust.
“Of course we’re a little disappointed but just to have our work recognised by an LGBTQ+ charity means so much.
“As a group, the LGBTQ+ staff network’s main aims are to support our 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. We know we still have work to do but it’s fantastic to see that the things we’re doing are already having an impact.”
This 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.
Most recently, the Trust celebrated LGBTQ+ Pride 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.
The staff network at the Trust is already looking towards its next initiatives to ensure the organisation is continuing on its path as an LGBTQ+-friendly organisation. This includes validating the organisation on Stonewall’s UK Workplace Equity Index.
During the award ceremony, which took place live on social media, Hart Gables, said: “The North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust LGBTQ+ staff network indicates LGBT inclusion is embedded into their work culture, making all staff members feeling valued, respected, and work in an environment where all forms of discrimination will be challenged effectively.
“We’d just like to take a moment to thank Matthew Andersen. His work has been brilliant over the last few years and his candour and sharing of his own experience has been moving and insightful.
“We honestly believe that his openness will inspire confidence and validation within others.
“Thank you Matthew and thank you North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust.”