Overgate Hospice has launched a new Rainbow Badge initiative to demonstrate how we offer our patients and their families open, non-judgmental and inclusive care and support.
Despite the progress made towards LGBT+ equality in recent years, many LGBT+ people still face significant barriers to leading healthy, happy and fulfilling lives, with challenges when accessing healthcare services a contributing factor. 
The Rainbow Badge initiative, which originated at Evelina London Children's Hospital, invites healthcare staff to sign a pledge to celebrate diversity and equality along with ensuring that all services are delivered in a non-judgemental and inclusive way.
The badge, showing the Overgate Hospice logo superimposed on the rainbow pride flag, can be worn on lanyards or uniforms and is a sign that the wearer is someone friendly and approachable, to whom one can talk about issues of sexuality and gender identity.
Rachel Sheils, Medical Director at Overgate Hospice, said;
“At Overgate, we know that every life is important and precious, and that every person has a right to be respected and seen as an individual. I am signing the Overgate Rainbow badge pledge because I want every colleague, volunteer, patient, carer and member of the public to know that Overgate welcomes them with open arms. Research clearly tells us that people who identify as being from the LGBT+ community have had experiences of ignorance and prejudice when seeking healthcare.  It can lead to fear of further discrimination and distress, and results in people not accessing the care they need.  We must make sure that everyone in Calderdale knows that Overgate will treat them with dignity and respect. The Rainbow Badge is a strong and visible sign of that commitment, and I will wear mine with pride.”  
More than 80 members of staff have signed a pledge and collected a badge so far. When staff sign up to wear the badge they are provided with information about the challenges people who identify as LGBT+ can face accessing healthcare and what they can do to support them.
Tracey Wilcock, Director of Clinical Services, said; “We are thrilled that so many members of the team have signed the pledge already. Even if the badges make just one patient or visitor feel more comfortable the initiative will have been a great success.”