LGBT+ Networks Forum and Research Update

Since our last blog post, there have been lots of exciting developments in the LGBT+ Networks research project, including the commencement of our fieldwork, meeting with our advisory board and the launch of the new LGBT+ Networks forum.

Launch of the LGBT+ Networks Forum

To celebrate LGBT History Month this February, we launched a new online forum for NHS staff and students currently training within the NHS. The forum provides an opportunity to discuss their views and experiences of LGBT+ staff networks within their own organisations and find out how others are working. It’s a great way to connect with NHS staff across the UK, creating a community of people interested in LGBT+ staff networks and focused on how to make them as inclusive and effective as possible. We hope it will provide a space to share ideas, demonstrate good practice and discuss the challenges networks face. It is also open to those who are not part of an LGBT+ staff network, to communicate their experiences and suggest what LGBT+ networks can do to increase their involvement.

The LGBT+ Networks Forum is an important part of our research, as it will allow us to access the experiences of many more individuals engaged in LGBT+ networks within the NHS, generating a deeper and more diverse understanding of how they work and what they could do better. It also presents a new and innovative opportunity to connect those that are part of or are interested in LGBT+ staff networks and see how the sharing of ideas can enhance the working lives of LGBT+ staff.

To get involved, visit  signup for the forum and join the conversation on Twitter @lgbt_networks. You can help promote the forum within your organisation and also to your staff LGBT network by using the promotional flyer as a screensaver, poster or email attachment. On social media you can use the LGBT+Networks twimage.

Fieldwork with case study organisations

We began fieldwork in our case study organisations in August 2017. This has involved recruiting nine LGBT+ networks in different NHS organisations located around the UK (England, Wales and Scotland). It was important to us that the organisations in our study were diverse in terms of the type of NHS trusts they were and the sort of communities they served. So far we have recruited from a range of organisations in urban and rural areas from mental health trusts, acute hospital trusts, community health services trusts, service providers and ambulance services. Our fieldwork involves observing and participating in network meetings as well as interviewing network members, equality and diversity representatives and the chief executive of each trust. We hope to complete the majority of this fieldwork by the end of 2018.

Advisory board

In January, we met with our advisory board which includes representatives form our partner organisations, academics, regulators and equality and diversity practitioners in the NHS as well as professionals from trade union and civil society organisations. We used this opportunity to discuss our progress and findings so far, and to obtain advice on future research activities.

In particular, we discussed the roll-out of our online survey, an integral element of this research which aims to get 10,000 responses from NHS staff. It was very valuable to discuss the timing of the survey, its dissemination and the formulation of the questions with the group and take on board their suggestions as to how maximise its reach and efficacy.