Equality and diversity
To improve the health and wellbeing of local communities, NHS Bexley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) believes in promoting equality and valuing diversity by working together to continually improve and value everyone’s unique contribution.
The CCG is committed to equality and diversity in all aspects of communications and engagement with patients and the public and the commissioning of healthcare.
The organisation is aware of its legal responsibilities and obligations in respect of eliminating unfair and unlawful discrimination, promoting equality of opportunity; ensuring good relations between all and in involving people and publishing the outcomes of its assessments. Recent legislation (the Equality Act 2010) now requires the NHS to conform to a Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED). As part of this, an Equality Delivery System (EDS) is being developed and includes indicative gradings. Local NHS organisations will be working with service users, local interest groups and staff to develop this in line with the requirements of the Act.
NHS Bexley CCG's objectives
A group of patients and residents met on Friday 11 October 2013 to discuss NHS Bexley CCG’s EDS objectives, these include:
- To embed the public sector equality duty into the work of the organisation via effective governance arrangements and appropriate training
- To put the general equality duty into practice across the organisations functions including policy and decision making, engagement and commissioning
- To ensure the specific requirements of the Equality Duty are met by publishing objectives every four years and information on progress annually
- To develop the equality and diversity group with patient and public representation
Following consultation with the group, these objectives were agreed for the period 2013 to 2017.
The Equality Act 2010 brings together nine separate pieces of legislation into one single Act simplifying the law and strengthening it in important ways to help tackle discrimination and inequality.
The Equality Act became law in October 2010. It replaces previous legislation (such as the Race Relations Act 1976 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995) and ensures consistency in what is needed to make the workplace a fair environment in which to work and to comply with the law.
Protected characteristics covered under Equality Act 2010:
- Gender reassignment
- Religion or belief
- Sexual orientation
- Marriage and civil partnership
- Pregnancy and maternity
The three aims of the Public Sector Equality Duty are to:
- Eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited under the Act
- Advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it
- Foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.
How the NHS in Bexley is working towards these three aims:
The CCG has concentrated on establishing and building relationships with identified protected groups.
Members of the Patient Experience Team regularly attend community forum meetings and engages with local residents from protected groups to share information about local healthcare.
A patient council was established in 2011 and is a sub-group of the governing body. Membership of the group includes representatives from the:
- Pensioners forum (age)
- Youth parliament (age)
- Multi-faith forum (religion/faith/ethnicity)
- Learning disability groups (disability)
- Representatives from groups with long-term conditions (disability)
The patient council enables the CCG to communicate key health messages across the borough and ensures people from protected groups are engaged with and involved in the commissioning of health services.
The CCG is also actively engaged with many other groups including:
- Women's Institute (gender)
- Women's Refuge (gender)
- Rotary club (gender)
- Haven social group (sexual orientation)
- Children's centres/nurseries (pregnancy and maternity)
- Travellers (race)
Patient complaints and enquiries (via the Patient Advice and Liaison Service) are handled respectfully and patient details are anonymised to ensure patients are not discriminated against.
For any enquiries relating to equality and diversity in Bexley, please contact, NHS Bexley CCG's head of patient experience and stakeholder engagement Annie Gardner.