A special float bringing together gay and lesbian doctors, nurses, dentists and LGBT staff from the Department of Health will take part in Pride London on July 5th.

The Gay & Lesbian Association of Doctors and Dentists, the Royal College of Nursing and the Department of Health LGBT Staff Group will be celebrating 60 years of LGBT contribution to the National Health Service.

The float is being developed with support from the Department of Health and is the fourth year the NHS has had a visible presence in the London Pride Parade.

The NHS employs around 1.3 million people, it is estimated that over 150,000 employees working for the NHS are lesbian, gay or bisexual and/or trans.

“We know that homophobia and transphobia are still alive and well in the public sector services and this float is a real chance to celebrate, be proud and stand up to the bigots and homophobes’ said Dr Justin Varney, Co-Chair of the Gay & Lesbian Association of Doctors and Dentists.

“I’m proud to be a gay doctor working for the NHS, it’s not perfect but its getting there!”

Meanwhile the organisers of Pride London have revealed the cost of staging the event.

In 2007, the event attracted nearly 500,000 people to the centre of London and cost the charity approximately £392,000, with income from a variety of sources.

Two thirds comes from sponsorship with the further third being made up of grants from bodies such as the Mayor of London, donations-in-kind and individual giving.

A new online donation scheme and website will shortly be launched on their website www.pridelondon.org

Pride London’s Finance Director, Laurie Powell, said:

“It costs the charity an enormous amount of money every year to put on our event and not one penny is wasted.

“We are almost entirely run by volunteers with a small amount of specialist consultant help.

“We rely on our sponsors and donors for the majority of our income and it is never easy persuading these big firms to part with cash, no matter how good our event is.

“We will shortly be launching a new online donation scheme to make it easier for people to support the event. We will be able to recover the tax via the Gift Aid scheme, so these donations will be even more valuable.

“There will still be our donations tins and buckets out before and during the event though so please give generously – if everyone attending the event gave just £1 it would make an enormous difference.”

Individuals interested in taking part in the NHS float or walking procession on Saturday 5th July should email lgbtnhs@mac.com for a registration form. Further information for LGBT NHS Professionals can be found at www.lgbtnhs.co.uk

Sponsorship opportunities still exist for those interested in supporting Pride London 2008.

Please email sponsorship@pridelondon.org for more details.