The Public Health Agency is committed to promoting health and reducing health inequalities in Northern Ireland. The Agency also recognises the central contribution that staff makes to the fabric of our health and social care services. With approximately 54,000 staff employed across all HSC settings, based on population estimates of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGB&T), it is suggested that within our services there could be 2,700 people who identify as LGB&T.
The Rainbow Project research report ‘ Through Our Eyes’ in 2011 highlighted that 1 in 4 respondents working in the public sector conceal their sexual orientation, and that some 40% of respondents from the public sector had heard negative comments about LGB&T people from a colleague or colleagues in the workplace. Workplace is an important setting for health improvement and the Public Health Agency has worked in partnership with the Trade Unions and HR directors to help establish an LGBT staff forum for staff working across all HSC organisations.
Having consulted with LGB&T Staff in 2010, the Forum was established and we are delighted to say that it has grown with an increasing number now registered on the confidential mailing list. The establishment of this website is a further milestone in the development of the Forum. As well as helping to increase the visibility of the Forum, it provides a statement of support from all health and social care organisations.
We would like to encourage more LGB&T staff to join the Forum and become involved in shaping the future direction, helping to ensure that our services are safe and welcoming places to work for all staff, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. This development is further testimony to our commitment towards creating diverse and inclusive workplaces.