Mental health trust is named the most gay-friendly in the country

A HEALTH trust which provides mental health services across 1066 Country and the rest of the county has been named the most gay-friendly in the country.

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust came top in England’s first Healthcare Equality Index.

The list was drawn up by national campaigners Stonewall to measure an organisation’s commitment to delivering services to the lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) community.

More than 30 healthcare trusts entered the index with Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust coming second and London Ambulance Service NHS Trust coming in third place.

Lisa Rodrigues, chief executive of Sussex Partnership, said: “We are all delighted to be awarded the number one position in the Healthcare Equality Index. This is a recognition of our commitment to equality and to the hard work by all our people, our patients and our partners.

“We don’t look to make improvements because it is the law, but because we recognise and value people’s different experiences and we are determined to provide the best care possible. Last year we became the highest-ever placed NHS organisation, fourth overall, in Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index.

“This latest accolade demonstrates the impact and outcome our work on LGB equality has had on our patients’ experience and service quality.”

The NHS trust also provides learning disability and substance misuse services across the county.

The Healthcare Equality Index has been developed as a tool for the NHS to benchmark and track its progress on equality for lesbian, gay and bisexual patients, service users, families and carers and highlight areas for improvements.

Barbara Martin, publicity and communications officer for Hastings and Rother Rainbow Alliance, said: “We welcome Sussex Partnership’s pioneering approaches to improving their commitment to equality for lesbian gay and bisexual service users. However we would like to stress that the trust must also address the needs of trans communities as a priority and we look forward to working constructively with them to assist in achieving this. We have a very vibrant trans community locally who are keen to have their needs recognised and their contributions heard.”