Health service workers from across the county are being invited to enjoy an “unprecedented online celebration” of the LGBT+ community this Friday evening, NHS England has announced.
To mark the time of year when thousands of people would ordinarily be gearing up for pride season, NHS England is hosting its first-ever “virtual pride” to celebrate and involve all of its LGBT+ staff.
“Now more than ever, pride is a time for us to increase our efforts to address LGBT+ health inequalities”
Members of the NHS England and NHS Improvement LGBT+ Staff Network and others have given up their spare time and expertise to organise NHS Virtual Pride on Friday 26 June.
With 2020 being the National Year of the Nurse and Midwife, the organisers are particularly keen to highlight LGBT+ nursing and midwifery colleagues.
As a result, the event is being run in collaboration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council LGBT+ Staff Network.
However, all LGBT+ staff are being welcomed to the event, which is being run on a voluntary basis and is in addition to modified local celebrations across the country, said NHS England.
The national NHS body highlighted that the NHS was Europe’s biggest employer of LGBT+ staff, who this year were unable to attend physical events due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I would encourage as many of our NHS people as possible to join us on Friday night”
The virtual event will be kicked off by NHS chief people officer Prerana Issar and feature music, poetry, DJs, comedy and video messages of support from “some familiar faces”, said NHS England.
Vicky Adamczyk, chair of the LGBT+ Staff Network at NHS England and NHS Improvement, said: “This year is unique as we know, with all our NHS people working incredibly hard in challenging circumstances in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and we are doing as much as we can as a staff network to provide additional support.
“We’re especially conscious that for some LGBT+ individuals, being at home is not always a happy or safe place to be themselves, which is why it is so important we continue to create inclusive work environments and networks for LGBT+ staff and allies,” he said.
Dr Michael Brady, national advisor for LGBT Health, said: “Now more than ever, pride is a time for us to increase our efforts to address LGBT+ health inequalities and work to improve the experience or our NHS LGBT+ workforce, but we can all do more, and we need to do better.
“While Covid-19 means we won’t be marching and celebrating as we would do normally, there are still many ways to celebrate pride, which is why I’ll be joining those taking part in virtual pride.”
Ms Issar said: “I’m delighted to be able to support this fantastic opportunity for NHS LGBT+ colleagues from across the country to celebrate pride while also staying safe this weekend, led by members of our LGBT+ Staff Network, and I would encourage as many of our NHS people as possible to join us on Friday night.”
To get involved in the lead up to the event follow @VirtualNHSPride or visit facebook.com/VirtualPride and use the hashtag #NHSVirtualPride to join the conversation. Friday’s event will begin at 6pm.