Equality and inclusion

Equality

EPUT strives to improve the experiences of our workforce, the people who use our services and the people who support them. We want to ensure that that everyone has fair access to services and employment without experiencing any form of discrimination.

As an NHS trust we have a legal duty, set out in the public sector equality duty, part of the Equality Act (2010), to:

  • eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct prohibited by the Equality Act (2010)
  • advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not share it
  • foster or encourage good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not share it

EPUT works to develop and implement a range of policies, projects and programmes to help foster equality and inclusion among our employees and local communities.

We are committed to challenging discrimination, both within our workforce and within the care we provide. We understand that equality and inclusion does not mean simply treating everyone the same or providing the same service to everyone. It means providing person-centred care and taking action to address inequalities both within our services and our wider community.

We understand that health inequalities are present in society. We work closely with local community organisations and in collaboration with staff, patients and carers to share good practice with other NHS trusts and organisations to make sure that improvements are made.

At EPUT, we are proud to have the following:

  • five Staff Equality Networks (Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority, Staff Carers, LGBTQ+ Disability and Mental Health, Faith and Spirituality). Network members help us understand the needs of their communities and work with us to shape improvements.
  • the Equality and Inclusion Subcommittee, part of our governance process, which uses feedback from staff and patient surveys, Staff Equality Networks, data from the Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) and Workforce Disability Equality Standard (WDES) to highlight trends in the trust and identify areas for improvement.
  • training and coaching to help staff become better allies and to challenge inequality and discrimination in all its forms, including ways to address systemic discrimination.

Inclusion

We respect and value the diversity of people who access our services, and the people who make up our workforce.

We are continuously building upon the coaching, resources and support we provide to our workforce to ensure that all colleagues understand the importance of equality inclusion. Teams are encouraged to report exclusion, discrimination and anything that may have a negative impact on people from minority or marginalised groups.

EPUT is proud to have more than 350 staff engagement and equality champions who receive training and support to promote equality and inclusion across the trust. Staff engagement and equality champions are backed by the Executive Director for People and Culture.

When making decisions that will affect our workforce, patients or community, an Equality Impact Assessment is carried out to ensure that the needs of marginalised or minority communities are met and that people will not be put at a disadvantage. We also work to ensure that our decision-making processes prioritise representation and involve members from these communities.

Protected characteristics

It is against the law to discriminate against someone because of:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage or civil partnership status
  • pregnancy or maternity leave
  • race including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation

These are called protected characteristics. Under the Equality Act (2010) you are protected from discrimination in the workplace and when using healthcare services. Under the Public Sector Equality Duty, the trust must consider how our decisions and policies may affect people with these characteristics, and make sure that our actions do not disadvantage or discriminate against people from any of these nine groups.

How do we know we are making progress?

As part of the Equality Act (2010) and the Public Sector Equality Duty, the trust publishes an Equality Delivery System (EDS2) report each year. This helps inform how we support our workforce and ensure equality and inclusion. We publish this data on an annual basis and develop actions based on findings, with input from our stakeholders, Staff Equality Networks, people who use our services and the people who support them. Read a summary of our 2020/21 EDS2 report here.

We also publish annual Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) and Workforce Disability Equality Standard (WDES) reports and we use this data to help monitor our progress.