Equality and inclusion
We want to make sure that people can use and work for our services without experiencing any form of discrimination. As an NHS trust we have a legal duty as set out in the public sector equality duty, part of the Equality Act 2010, to consider or think about how our policies or decisions affect people who are protected under the Equality Act.
Who is protected under the Equality Act?
People who are protected under the Act have what’s called protected characteristics.
The characteristics that are protected in relation to the public sector equality duty are:
- gender reassignment
- marriage and civil partnership
- pregnancy and maternity
- religion or belief
- sexual orientation
When public authorities carry out their functions, the Equality Act specifically says they must have due regard or think about the need to:
- eliminate unlawful discrimination
- advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who don’t
- foster or encourage good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who don’t
Having ‘due regard’ means public authorities like EPUT must consciously consider or think about the need to do these three things set out in the public sector equality duty.
We are committed to challenging any discrimination that people who use, contact or work for our services may encounter. We have introduced a wide range of policies, programmes and other activities to ensure we provide everyone with an accessible service that reflects their personal needs and circumstances. We also work closely with other NHS, healthcare and community organisations to make sure that we are making these improvements.
Some of the work we have done includes:
- Making changes to the way we govern the Trust so that we can respond to suggestions from patient and staff surveys on how we can improve
- Setting up and growing five staff networks to help us better understand the needs of and improve the lives of our staff who share protected characteristics
- Provide training to staff to help them challenge discrimination and inequality and improve the way we provide services and work together.
The people who use and work for our services are varied and diverse. We train and support our staff to provide healthcare that is respectful of people’s individual needs, circumstances and backgrounds.
Any decisions that will affect people who use our services or our staff go through an assessment process designed to specifically take into account the needs of people in marginalised or minority groups, preventing them from being directly or indirectly put at a disadvantage.
We also have over 350 trained staff engagement and equality champions who help and support colleagues to deliver equal and inclusive services.
By promoting the values of inclusion and representation in everything that we do, we are able to find new ways of meeting the needs of individuals and genuinely providing person-centred care.
How do we know we are making progress?
Part of our responsibilities under the Equality Act means we must publish data each year in an Equality Delivery System, also called EDS2. The aim of EDS2 is to improve services for people who belong to vulnerable and protected groups by assessing health inequalities and provide better working environments, free of discrimination, for people who use and work in the Trust.
In order to measure compliance with the Equality Act 2010 and our own priorities, the Trust publishes equality data every year. This could be around our staff, service users and anyone accessing our services.
Each year, we carry out an Equality and Diversity analysis of the workforce identifying trends patterns and hotspots which require action. We don’t promise to get it right all the time, but our commitment is to follow up hotspot areas and to put plans in place to try and make improvements.
Staff do not have to declare their equality information. However, we try to encourage staff to share this with us to ensure we can reflect their needs at work.