Chiefs’ delight at Stonewall index placing

Proud@NEAS chairman Ben Barber, chief executive Yvonne Ormston, and Mark Johns, engagement manager.
Proud@NEAS chairman Ben Barber, chief executive Yvonne Ormston, and Mark Johns, engagement manager.

Three regional organisations have been named among Britain’s best employers for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) staff.

The North East Ambulance Service (NEAS), which employs more than 2,500 people, was the best health and social care provider in the UK in Stonewall’s 2018 Workplace Equality Index – it lists the charity’s top 100 employers in the country.

In this year’s list, NEAS returned to its highest ever ranking of 46th.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust was once again included, this time in 65th. It first entered the top 100 in 2014.

In addition, Northumbria Police jumped almost 100 places to its highest ever position – 69th.

NEAS is also the top ranked NHS foundation trust and ambulance service in the UK.

Its initiatives over the past year have 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.

Chief executive Yvonne Ormston said: “We’re 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.”

In the last year, Northumbria Healthcare has promoted equality and diversity in a range of ways – such as introducing additional policies and codes of conduct to improve support for LGBT staff and patients, specific staff training and enhanced data collection methods.

Chief executive Jim Mackey said: “I’m very proud that we have been named as one of the top 100 employers in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index for the fifth consecutive year.”

“Our ranking has improved considerably this year, which is reflective of the strength of our staff network and our commitment to diversity in our workforce through engaging with staff and the public in order to improve the health of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people.”

Northumbria Police established a dedicated LGBT+ Support Association to engage with members of the LGBT+ community and offer support to the workforce.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Dame Vera Baird, said: “Making our organisation a better place to work for our LGBT staff isn’t simply a tickbox exercise, it’s something that runs through the very heart of what we do.”