THE acting chief executive at Gobowen’s Orthopaedic Hospital has highlighted the importance of the hospital’s support for those in the LGBTQ+ community.

Staff working at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital (RJAH) are showing their support for their LGBTQ+ colleagues and patients, with the introduction of the NHS Rainbow Badge.

The badge provides staff with a way to show that their place of work offers open, non-judgemental and inclusive care for all who identify as LGBTQ+, and acts as visual symbol identifying the person wearing it as someone who is there to listen.

Stacey Keegan, acting chief executive at RJAH, insists the symbol, which will be worn by staff, is more than just a badge.

She said: “Being a member of the LGBTQ+ community myself, I know how important this initiative is. It’s so much more than just wearing a badge, this is about making sure that the people we are caring for or work at our hospital feels safe but also seen.

“At RJAH, we work hard to create an environment for our staff and patients, that is supportive, open and inclusive, so I am thrilled we have launched this fantastic initiative.

“We have an incredible, diverse range of staff who give their all to care for our patients and it’s important that we do everything we can to support them.

“I hope this small act can make a big difference to break down any barriers LGBTQ+ people may face within the NHS.”

Staff members are being encouraged to sign up for the scheme, signing their own personal pledge to acknowledge the responsibility of wearing a badge and promoting inclusivity.

Its launch was arranged to coincide with the NHS’ Virtual Pride event. With Pride events being cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, NHS England and NHS Improvement’s LGBT+ Staff Network is organising ‘NHS Virtual Pride’ on Friday, June 26, from 6pm.

This virtual celebration will feature music, drag, poetry, DJs, comedy, and a few messages of support from some familiar faces.

LGBTQ+ stands for lesbian, gay bisexual, transgender and the + simply means that RJAH is inclusive of all identities, regardless of how people define themselves.

To get involved in the lead up to NHS Virtual Pride, follow @VirtualNHSPride on Twitter, and use the hashtag #NHSVirtualPride to join the conversation.

The link to watch the broadcast will be posted on Twitter @VirtualNHSPride and Facebook.