Return of Pride sees NHS in Devon engaging with LGBTQIA+ community to make services more inclusive

(Last Updated On: May 12, 2022)

NHS Devon is welcoming the return of Pride in Exeter this year. NHS Chief Executives and senior leaders will be attending the event to understand first-hand the experiences of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, questioning intersex and asexual plus (LGBTQIA+) community in Devon and find out what the NHS can do to further support the LGBTQIA+ community with their health and care needs and make services more inclusive.

Jane Milligan, Chief Executive for NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group and the Integrated Care System for Devon said: “I am sensitive to the issues that the LGBTQIA+ community faces as I know just how difficult it is to be open about what are very personal issues.

“Pride has always been – and always will be – much more than an event or a day out for me. It’s about building long-term culture of inclusivity with others, recognising that it is not what label you have, but qualities you bring that count.

“This is especially true in the NHS where LGBTQIA+ staff and clinicians, patients and public are equal partners in our mission to provide the best possible care.

“I am really looking forward to supporting Exeter Pride as it represents another opportunity to express our values as one of Devon’s largest employers, uniting diverse communities and celebrating both our differences but also our similarities.”

Melanie Walker, Chief Executive of Devon Partnership NHS Trust, which provides local mental health services said, “Exeter Pride is a brilliant event to celebrate and recognise our local LGBTQIA+ community and I’m looking forward to a fun and informative day.
“Please come and say hello to us and find out more about how we can support you. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone and .”

Exeter Pride is one of the South West’s biggest celebrations of the LGBTQIA+
communities, and one of the biggest free Pride events in the country. The event was cancelled in 2020 and moved online in 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chair of Exeter Pride Tamsin Scott said, “It is great to have the NHS back at Exeter Pride, to celebrate with us and to carry out vital work in ensuring LGBTQIA+ people have equality in healthcare.”

A Devon County Council survey found that LGBTQIA+ people in Devon were more likely to feel isolated and to have poorer health and wellbeing and to report that they didn’t feel listened to or understood by public services. Meanwhile research by LGBTQIA+ campaign and support charity Stonewall found that one in seven LGBT people (14 per cent) avoid seeking healthcare for fear of discrimination from staff.

Anyone not attending Exeter Pride can fill out an online form to give their thoughts on improving services. The NHS in Devon is also keen to hear from LGBTQIA+ health and care staff. Findings from the survey will be used to shape the new Integrated Care System for Devon; a partnership of health and social care organisations working together with local communities across Devon, Plymouth and Torbay to improve people’s health, wellbeing and care.

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