NHS Grampian has been credited with leading the way on promoting LGBT discussions around its hospitals.
A trailblazing team from the health board has been working hard to promote an LGBT-friendly message among both staff and patients.
The recent push has seen the creation of rainbow-coloured NHS Grampian badges, colourful lanyards to hold staff passes, and painting benches around the Foresterhill campus in bright colours.
The most high-profile move saw staff and their families take part in the Grampian Pride parade, held on the city’s Union Street in May.
Nigel Firth, equality and diversity manager at NHS Grampian, said the health board has “always” been LGBT-friendly but said they wanted to make sure the message was more visible.
He said: “We tried various ways but about a year ago a little rectangular badge dropped through my letter box.
“It’s an idea from the south of England where staff wear this kind of badge and it encourages LGBT discussions.
“I wore it for a month and in that month I had six discussions. Four with patients and two with staff, neither of whom were out.
“Obviously this worked and I was really impressed by it.”
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Nigel said there was an instance in November where a female patient in a same-sex relationship felt “apprehensive” about visiting Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and being asked about her next of kin.
He said: “She had a bit of apprehension about being asked about her next of kin, given that it was her wife, another female.
“But the nurse who was booking her in was wearing one of these badges so that gave her a great deal of reassurance and they had a good discussion.
“It’s about showing that we are LGBT-friendly.
“What we say to staff is if you want it just as a badge, no.
“But if you wear it and are prepared to have LGBT discussions with colleagues or with patients or relatives and visitors, that is the purpose and the basis on which staff get the badges.”
NHS Grampian Pride banners and flags were specially created for the Grampian Pride parade, with staff handing them out to the public.
The health board also has plans to bring the “spirit” of Pride into the hospital wards itself from next year.
Liz Howarth, consultation and engagement adviser at the health board, said: “There were kids all over the city waving their NHS Grampian flags.
“When it was this year’s Grampian Pride, one of the wards at Royal Cornhill Hospital had their own Pride party in the ward.
“So there were members of staff who joined us on the march and then they went away with bundles of flags and badges.”