THE North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) has retained its place as one of the top employers for awareness of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees for a fourth consecutive year.

The Trust, which employs more than 2,500 people, including an estimated 250 LGBT colleagues, has maintained its position from last year’s Stonewall Top 100 Employer shortlisting as the highest ranked NHS Foundation Trust and the top performing ambulance service UK wide.

It also continues to be the top ranked emergency service in the North-East.

Stonewall’s Top 100 Employers list celebrates the pioneering efforts of leading organisations to create inclusive workplaces.

Yvonne Ormston, NEAS chief executive, said: “It’s important that people are able to be themselves in the workplace and that we maintain an environment where people feel safe, supported and included.

"There is strong evidence to suggest that having happy staff leads to improved outcomes for patients.

“We’re extremely proud of the work we have done to make sure our service considers the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and we will continue to work with local communities and the National Ambulance LGBT Network to identify further improvements.

"Retaining our place in the Stonewall Top 100 index and as the top performing ambulance organisation in the UK serves to recognise this work.”