The service user experience is central to the Rainbow Alliance. It is regarded as a ‘movement’ in which LYPFT staff in ALL roles can have an opportunity to collaborate and come together with the shared goal of enhancing the quality of care which we deliver across the organisation. In the essence of integrated care within mental health, the Rainbow Alliance is already establishing effective working partnerships with 3rd sector support services (e.g.Trans Leeds, MESMAC, Leeds Bi Network, Time to Shine, Mind, Touchstone, Dial House). In addition, there are also links developing with NHS Digital and Leeds City Council.
What We Did
The service user experience is central to the Rainbow Alliance. It is regarded as a ‘movement’ in which LYPFT staff in ALL roles can have an opportunity to collaborate and come together with the shared goal of enhancing the quality of care which we deliver across the organisation
In the essence of integrated care within mental health, the Rainbow Alliance is already establishing effective working partnerships with 3rd sector support services (e.g.Trans Leeds, MESMAC, Leeds Bi Network, Time to Shine, Mind, Touchstone, Dial House). In addition, there are also links developing with NHS Digital and Leeds City Council. There is also evident future potential to work with Leeds Community Healthcare and Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust. Most importantly, the alliance will build working relationships amongst the LGBT* public. This strategic approach will promote the improvement of mental health outcomes for the Leeds LGBT* community in line with the Five Year Forward View for mental health
In the early stages, Kate Ward and Rhys Davies will lead on ‘recruiting’ members to the alliance by developing promotional material and distributing this in collaboration with Trust Diversity and Communications colleagues. Rhys & Kate will keep a central list of alliance members and commit their lead roles to ensuring that the purpose of the Rainbow Alliance is understood and embraced. Kate and Rhys are now members of the Leeds Equality Hub and the Leeds LGBT Wellbeing group. They will also continue to attend events within the Leeds community to continue building rapport and working relationships with other organisations and to ensure that LYPFT has a visible presence in the city in relation to LGBT* people
By wearing Pride style lanyards this will promote a visible presence of the alliance and communicate a message around the Trust and to the public that LYPFT value the health and wellbeing of the LGBT* community. Positive feedback has already been received from service users under Aire court CMHT, that feel the lanyards promote a sense of open culture in relation to the diversity of sexuality. Also in relation to visibility, members of the Rainbow Alliance can ensure that there is a visual space dedicated to promoting the health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer and trans* inclusion within their teams/service areas. They can also add the Rainbow Alliance logo & strapline as a standard footer on all email communication from my NHS.net account. If a member has a professional presence on social media, they will use the hashtag #LYPFTRainbow to promote and communicate the work of the alliance in the digital healthcare community
The alliance will actively build working relationships with other Rainbow members and attend quarterly get-togethers to share good practice and identify service areas where practice and culture needs supporting and developing. The aim is for this to also be peer led and involve contributions from 3rd sector partners to ensure integration and collaboration
Members of the Rainbow Alliance can ensure that ongoing training and development needs relating to lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer and trans* mental health are identified and met within their own teams/services area on a continual basis
Members of the Rainbow Alliance can communicate the importance and value of lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer and trans* inclusion within their teams/service areas. They will have or self-develop their skills and knowledge to address and challenge any homophobia, transphobia and biphobia which they encounter or witness within the Trust. This includes the expressed views, comments and opinions of both staff and service users
Members of the Rainbow Alliance will promote, support and represent LYPFT during key events relating to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer and trans* community e.g. Pride, Transgender Day of Remembrance, LGBT History Month
We are now embedded into the Leeds City Council Equality Hub representing Leeds Statutory mental health services. We have built collaborative relationships with partner organisations including Leeds Mind, Touchstone, Trans Leeds, Leeds City Council and are now working on forming partnerships with other NHS Trusts in Leeds (NHS Digital, Leeds Community Healthcare, Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust).
By wearing rainbow lanyards we have created a visibility which has led to open conversations about the Rainbow Alliance with service users and carers. We are advertising for service user & carer representation in the Rainbow Alliance and will meet on a quarterly basis as a ‘focus group’ which will provide service users & carers quality time to contribute to the direction of the alliance and how it will continue to promote quality care for LGBT+ people around the organisation. We also promote the Rainbow Alliance in waiting areas and invite anyone interested in knowing more to contact myself or my Rainbow colleague
Looking Back/Challenges Overcome
We were aware that some staff did not understand the priority we were giving to LGBT+ service development. So to overcome this, we gathered statistics and evidence on the prevalence of mental health for LGBT+ people and the risk factors for both sexuality and gender. We also liaised with partnership organisations to gather data around the service user experience of mental health services in Leeds and were able to evidence that mental health IS a priority for LGBT+ people in leeds and that over 40% of people are not confident in accessing statutory healthcare services as someone who identifies as LGBT+. We feel this evidence and data presents a very clear reason for why LGBT+ mental health service delivery needs to improve in the city and communicates to all that there is an inequality for LGBT+ in accessing services which leads to increased risk.
We are also committed to ensuring that the Rainbow Alliance is led by frontline staff and service users and not managed within the higher levels of management. We invite participation from all levels within our organisation but this is an organic initiative that needs to stay ‘bottom led’ in order for it to have integrity and be sensitive to the health needs of the Leeds population. We have challenged perceptions that the Rainbow Alliance needs to be managed and ‘approved’ at executive level. NHS leadership can take place at any level and we are most passionate about this.
Additionally, whilst we understand that our trust has organisational objectives around equality which we are keen to promote and support – our fundamental priority is the service user experience and we have actively championed this in conversations with our Diversity team and other higher level staff members
The Rainbow Alliance is ‘led’ and not ‘managed’. There is no hierarchy. Initially it will be steered by myself and my colleague but it will evolve into a staff movement of which would continue if anyone was to move on. This will be possible due to the number of staff we will have representing the alliance around the Trust. The quarterly meetings will be a driver for ensuring continuity and reviewing priorities and objectives for the alliance. There is little to no cost overheads to consider as staff will incorporate this into their current job roles and responsibilities.
Evaluation (Peer or Academic)
We have developed a local outcome measure to evidence the impact that our staff training programme will have in relation to enhancing the skills and knowledge of mental health practitioners. Increased skills, knowledge and confidence of mental health practitioners will in turn lead to better care and better outcomes.
There has been a survey conducted within the Leeds voluntary sector which maps out the LGBT+ experience of mental health services in Leeds. This is on the verge of being published and its data will be used as an initial benchmark. There is scope to repeat this on annual basis to map out any differences the alliance has made to the delivery of mental health care.
We are evidently creating a culture which values LGBT mental health. Not only will this benefit service users and carers but having a more LGBT inclusive trust will also promote LGBT staff to feel they work in a more LGBT inclusive NHS organisation.
Yes. This is very important to us. We represent NHS mental health within a citywide locality hub run by the council. We attend events run by other stakeholders in LGBT wellbeing and actively contribute. We insist on having a physical presence at Leeds Pride to promote mental health and demonstrate our commitment to continually improving care for LGBT people. We actively promote the Rainbow Alliance on our social media professional accounts in which we link with a broad range of health, social care and third sector services around the region. We invite our chief executive to chat to us about the work we are doing and this is well received by our current chief executive.
Is there any other information you would like to add?
Rainbow Alliance is an initiative which has the scope to contribute to better health outcomes across the city. There are clear opportunities for partnership working with various organisations, NHS trusts, businesses as it progresses. We want to ensure that, not only are we a Trust which values and actively strives to enhance the quality of services for LGBT people but that the Leeds healthcare system as a whole can progress to being LGBT+ inclusive and provide evidence based quality care to the LGBT population.