Equality and Diversity
Equality Act 2010
The purpose of the Equality Act 2010 is to bring together discrimination legislation. It also contains new measures to strengthen protection against discrimination. The Equality Act gives the UK a single Act of Parliament. It requires everyone to have equal access to employment as well as to private and public services, regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, maternity or pregnancy, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.
The Act covers nine protected characteristics, which cannot be used as a reason to treat people unfairly. These characteristics refer to the groups of people who are specifically offered protection by the Equality Act. Every person has one or more of the protected characteristics, and so the Act protects everyone against unfair discrimination.
- Age – Person belonging to a particular age or age group. People of different ages including children, younger and older people.
- Disability – People who have a disability or a physical or mental impairment and it has substantial and long term adverse effect on an individual’s ability to carry out normal daily living activities.
- Gender Reassignment – People who are proposing to undergo, are undergoing or have undergone a process (or part of a process) to reassign their sex by changing physiological or other physical attributes of sex.
- Marriage and Civil Partnership – People who are married or in a civil partnership.
- Pregnancy and Maternity – Women who are having or have recently had a baby.
- Race – People characterised by shared ethnicity, colour, and nationality (including citizenship) ethnic or national origins.
- Religion or Belief – People with or without a religion or belief.
- Sex – Men and women.
- Sexual Orientation – People whose sexual orientation is towards people of the same sex as themselves (gay or lesbian); people of the opposite sex (heterosexual); or people of both sexes (bisexual).
What do we mean by Human Rights?
The Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA) came into force in 2000. Everyone in the UK is protected under the Act. Human Rights are underpinned by a set of common values and have been adopted by the NHS under the acronym FREDA.
The FREDA principles represent:
- Fairness(e.g. fair and transparent grievance and complaints procedures)
- Respect(e.g. respect for same sex couples, teenage parents, homeless
- Equality(e.g. not being denied treatment due to age, sex, race etc.)
- Dignity(e.g. sufficient staff to change soiled sheets, help patient to eat/drink)
- Autonomy(e.g. involving people in decisions about their treatment and care)
Consideration of Human Rights is also given in our Equality Analysis process, to ensure that our policies and strategies are compatible with the rights afforded by this Act.
Health and Social Care Act 2012
The Act builds on the core principles and values of the NHS – a comprehensive service that is available to all, based on need and free at the point of use.
The Act charges the National Commissioning Board with an explicit duty to address inequalities in outcome and achieve fair equitable access to health services.