Deep-rooted homophobia plagues the NHS

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The Royal College of Nursing has backed calls for ‘explicit and proactive’ training in the NHS to combat LGB prejudice.

Nurses and other health workers need to be educated about their rights and managers need to send out the message that homophobia is unacceptable are other recommendations from a report by Stonewall.

The gay equality organisation presented Being the Gay One: Experiences of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual People Working in the Health and Social Care Sector this week.

The report found that discrimination against LGB nurses is widespread across the UK, regardless of seniority or practice area.

Many resort to concealing their sexuality or leaving the profession altogether.

Ruth Hunt, Head of Policy and Research at Stonewall, told

“We are shocked by some of the incidents of discrimination that this report raises.

“We hope that the health and social care sector will use this opportunity to start to seriously consider the steps it can take to protect all lesbian and gay staff.

“The sector has a very clear responsibility to protect all staff from discrimination.”

Drew Payne, a nurse trainer, told magazine Nursing Standard’s recent special issue to mark gay history month:

“I did a rough straw poll last year and contacted 20 universities to see if they gave any training on LGB issues. Only one did. That is very telling.

“We need to celebrate the fact that there are so many LGB nurses. They should not be hidden away.”

The RCN’s sexual orientation equality champion, Tina Donnelly, commented:

“‘The report outlined some of the most appalling and distressing forms of behaviour that clearly violates and demeans the dignity of colleagues.

“Employers must now ensure that they take decisive and concerted action to challenge such discriminatory behaviour as well as actively embed approaches that value the full diversity of the healthcare workforce.”