North East Ambulance Service rated Best Health and Social Care Provider in the UK by Stonewall

NEAS places top Helath and Social Care Provider 2018 Stonewall Top 100 Employers list

North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) has been named the best Health and Social Care Provider in the UK in the 2018 Stonewall Top 100 Employers list.

The Trust, which employs more than 2,500 people, including an estimated 250 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees, returned to its highest ever ranking of 46th place in this year’s list.

As well as receiving the highest ranking Health and Social care organisation in the UK – up from 3rd last year – NEAS is also the top ranked NHS Foundation Trust and the top performing ambulance service UK wide and continues to be the top ranked emergency service in the North East.

Stonewall’s Top 100 Employers is the definitive list showcasing the best employers for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender staff.

The list is compiled from submissions to the Workplace Equality Index, an annual audit of the workplace culture and a powerful benchmarking tool used by employers to create inclusive workplaces.

Now in its fourteenth year, the list celebrates the pioneering efforts of leading organisations to create inclusive workplaces.

This year’s ranking reflects efforts at NEAS to engage with LGBT employees in addition to making improvements to services and employment practices for employees and patients.

Over the last year this has included:

  • Improving support for transgender and non-binary employees and patients through new call taker guidance, a new policy and a series of lunch and learn sessions to help employees better understand trans issues
  • Developing a campaign entitled ‘Bring your whole self to work’
  • Improving engagement with LGBT patients and stakeholders at Pride events
  • Holding events with other regional partners
  • Reaching out to LGBT communities to better understand people’s needs

Catherine Young, acting NEAS chair and Board champion for equality said: “It’s fantastic to see we have made such great progress and are back in Stonewall’s top 50 list of employers. We are especially proud to be the top performing health and social care organisation, NHS Foundation Trust and ambulance service and we will use this result to build on our work and explore areas we can further develop.”

Yvonne Ormston, chief executive, added: “We are really proud that the effort we’ve made over recent years to make services and employment opportunities more inclusive for LGBT people has been recognised in this way.

“As an emergency service which deals with the public on a daily basis, treating employees and patients fairly and according to their specific needs is one of our fundamental principles and something we are committed to.

“But it’s not just about our patients. We understand that people work better when they can be themselves and for that to happen, we need to create an inclusive working environment that values the contribution everyone makes. We hope this recognition will make North East Ambulance Service an even more attractive organisation to work for.”

Paramedic and front line manager Ben Sargent, who chairs the Trust’s LGBT staff network, Proud@NEAS, said: “As a gay man, it’s really important for me to know that my employer values the contribution I and other LGBT people make and supports me to be myself in the workplace, free from harassment and discrimination.

”The Trust has involved the Proud@NEAS group in all of its work to improve LGBT equality for patients and employees. This top 50 ranking recognises the time and effort our dedicated employees have put in to improvements in our Trust as part of our network and we’re really proud to be able to celebrate this success.“

Darren Towers, Executive Director, Stonewall said: “Taking part in our Index shows real commitment to understanding and advancing LGBT equality.

“This year, for the first time, the Index looked at what employers were doing for trans equality in the workplace. This work is crucial. We recently published LGBT in Britain: Trans Report, which revealed the profound inequality facing trans people in Britain today. Half of trans people have hidden their identity at work for fear of discrimination. This must change and it’s encouraging to see so many organisations make a commitment to trans equality.

“With their support and hard work we can create a world where all lesbian, gay, bi and trans employees are welcomed and accepted without exception.” 

Representatives from the Trust will be attending the Stonewall Top 100 Employers launch event on 31 December 2018.

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