Mental health charity St Andrew’s Healthcare has taken top spot in Stonewall’s 2015 healthcare equality index.

Northumbria Healthcare Foundation Trust was the highest placed NHS organisation, in second place in the index.

LGBT rainbow flat

St Andrew’s Healthcare flew a rainbow flag in front of its main building

St Andrew’s, which provides mental health care across the UK, was awarded first place for its work in improving lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality and diversity for patients and staff.

A new patient experience team and the appointment of an equality, diversity and human rights lead were among the initiatives that impressed the judges.

Other initiatives put in place by the charity included:

  • the introduction of a joint equality and diversity education programme for patients and staff
  • the launch of a website co-created by staff, carers and the LGBT community; and
  • dedicating a day to raise awareness about homophobia and transphobia, during which staff are encouraged to wear rainbow colours for the day. The trust also flew a rainbow flag in front of its main building.

Lindsey Ambrose, equality, diversity and human rights lead at St Andrew’s, said that: “[The health equality index] was fantastic for us, we already took part in the workplace equality index but the HEI is so important because it puts the focus on patients being at the heart of what we do and the staff and carers who support those patients”

Northumbria Healthcare FT achieved second place in this year’s index after coming thirteenth in 2014. Ann Brown, operational manager in involvement and service development, said the trust was committed to delivering compassionate and person centred care, and ensuring that the values of dignity and respect were upheld.

Stonewall launched the Healthcare Equality Index in 2013 as a tool for NHS organisations to benchmark their progress in equality for LGBT service users and carers.

James Taylor, Head of Campaigns at Stonewall said: “The index is really good tool to measure your performance against others but also I think it’s a signposting for trusts that might not be doing so well in other areas and get them to think about what they can be doing about equality.”