Sexual orientation


To help you better understand and address the issues relating to sexual orientation in the workplace, this page provides a summary of information, tools, resources and best practice to help you create a culture and environment that welcomes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender staff, allowing them to be themselves at work and to contribute fully to the wider organisation.

Health and Care LGBTQ+ Leaders Network

The NHS Confederation launched this network for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) leaders and allies from a diverse range of roles and backgrounds across health and care.

Visit Health and Care LGBTQ+ Leaders Network to find out more information and to join. You can also follow the network on Twitter @NHSC_LGBTQ.

NHS Employers in partnership with the Health and Care LGBTQ+ Leaders Network hosted a virtual event Responding to LGBTQ+ equalities during COVID-19 and beyond to explore the inequalities experienced by LGBTQ+ people.    

National reports

  • In October 2019, the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee published the Health and Social Care and LGBT Communities report. This report highlighted the view that LGBT people are being let down in health and social care, by structures and services that are not inclusive or designed with them in mind. LGBT people were expected to fit into systems that assume they are straight and cisgender. But the committee has found that deep inequalities exist in health outcomes for these communities and that treating them the same as non-LGBT people will not address these poor outcomes.
  • Stonewall published a report with YouGov in 2018 called LGBT in Britain: Health Report. The report was part of a series on the state-of-the-nation LGBT in Britain, which uncovers the alarmingly high rates of poor mental health experienced by LGBT people in Britain.
  • The Government published the LGBT Action Plan in November 2018. The four-year plan contains more than 75 commitments aimed at improving the lives of LGBT people. Some of the key actions include: Appointing a national LGBT health adviser to provide leadership on reducing the health inequalities that LGBT people face; Extending the anti-homophobic, b-iphobic and transphobic bullying programme in schools; Bringing forward proposals to end the practice of conversion therapy in the UK; and Taking further action on LGBT hate crime – improving the recording and reporting of, and police response to hate crime.
  • In response the NHS in March 2019 announced the appointment of the first ever national advisor for LGBT health in the NHS, Dr Michael Brady, the medical director of the Terrence Higgins Trust and HIV consultant at Kings College Hospital. Subsequently Dr Brady has developed an action plan setting how he will be working with the NHS to address key LGBT issues. He also shared his plans during a session a NHS Employers partners programme module.

  • In July 2019 the government published the first LGBT Action Plan Annual Progress Report 2018 to 2019.

Research on LGBT+ staff networks

NHS Employers has been working closely with the University of York and their research team to develop a better understanding of how LGBT+ networks are run and what they can do to improve relationships between colleagues. Ultimately, our goal is to improve the wellbeing of LGBT employees. The research report will be published on 8 October 2020.


Further resources

Sexual Orientation Monitoring Standard (2017) The national information standard for sexual orientation monitoring aims to better meet the needs of LGBT people through improved data collection. The standard also provides a mechanism for recording the sexual orientation of all patients and service users aged 16 years and over across all health services and Local Authority social care providers in England.   
Sexual orientation reading list The Equality  and Human Rights Commission has produced this useful reading list.
Top 100 Employers' list for 2019

This list is created by LGBT charity Stonewall, features six health and social care organisations, and includes three new entries for the sector and three existing ones from previous years. Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust ranked highest in the sector this year at number 28, and jumped an impressive 67 places, after coming 95th in 2018. Three new entries to the list this year include: Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (77th), University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (84th), and the NHS Business Services Authority (88th).

Trans Unite Trans Unite allows members of the transgender & non-binary communities to find a support group local to them (or even an online-only group). 
Stonewall - sexual orientation employer toolkit Stonewall has developed a sexual orientation employer toolkit which introduces employers to the practical steps they can take to make their workplaces more inclusive. 
LGBT issues at work The NHS Confederations Mental Health Network in Oct 2019, produced a podcast focusing on LGBTQ+ visibility in the workforce.
LGBT Action Plan 2018 This cross government LGBT action plan outlines firm commitments to tackle some of the biggest issues facing LGBT people. 
Faith, sexuality and identity digital stories These stories were created to explore the interactions and intersections between faith, sexuality and identity, and how those complex influences affect health and well-being.

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