The NHS Confederation has today launched the Health and Care LGBTQ+ Leaders Network in a bid to make the NHS and care system a more inclusive place to work and receive care. The network is made up of LGBTQ+ leaders and allies from a range of roles, skills and backgrounds across the sector.
The main aims of the network are to increase numbers and visibility of LGBT+ people in leaderships positions in the NHS and to improve the experience of LGBTQ+ staff at all levels as well as patients.
It is hoped that the network will be able to make “tangible changes with real impact”, such as reducing sickness reducing sickness absence and improving retention of LGBTQ+ staff.
The announcement comes on the same day as NHS England hosts its first-ever online Pride celebration event for its LGBTQ+ workers. Chair of the Health and Care LGBTQ+ Network, Peter Molyneux, who is also chair of Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said there was “still a long way to go” to achieve real inclusion.
“This network will help us to face the challenges we have in health and care and to provide the visible leadership and support for staff necessary to ensure that everyone in the LGBTQ+ community receives the best care or works in an inclusive environment where they can thrive,” he added. Layla McCay, director of international relations at the NHS Confederation, said she was “struck by two persistent injustices faced by LGBTQ+ staff and patients: career prospects and health outcomes”.
“We want this network to help our health and care sectors be fantastic places to work for LGBTQ+ people, and for LGBTQ+ people to be able to access the inclusive health and care services they need and deserve,” she added.
“I hope the network will enable LGBTQ+ people to make our voices heard and together drive the changes we need to flourish.” The NHS Confederation is also the host of the Health & Care Women Leaders’ Network and the BME Leadership Network.
The organisation’s chief executive, Niall Dickson, said he was confident that the new LGBTQ+ network would be a “force for change, for inclusion and for equality in the NHS and wider care system”.
“The nature of leadership in health and care is changing for the better, but if we are to deliver the transformation that is required, we need to do more to nurture and support the talent that surrounds us,” he added.