Press release

New toolkit launched to promote equality and fairness in the NHS

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

All parts of the NHS can now work out how fairly they treat patients and employees in a systematic and robust way

All parts of the NHS can now work out how fairly they treat patients and employees in a systematic and robust way following the launch today (10th November) of a new toolkit.

The Equality Delivery System (EDS) will support the NHS in delivering personal, fair and more diverse health services in the future.  It will help the NHS to ensure staff from all backgrounds can thrive, develop and deliver the best care possible. It will make the NHS more accountable to all the communities it serves, and give local people a greater say in how the NHS is run.

The EDS, initiated by the NHS Equality and Diversity Council, was developed by the NHS for the NHS by listening to the views of more than 3,000 patients, carers, and people who work in the NHS and the voluntary sector.

A simple framework tool, it will support hospitals, clinics and other key health services to think about the individual needs of patients and staff.  For example, by using the EDS, NHS organisations will be able to:

  • prioritise better access to screening and other health services for disabled men and women;
  • provide better primary care experiences for people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds;
  • ensure that everyone, no matter what their sexual orientation or religious beliefs are, can talk in confidence to clinicians about their identity; and
  • make sensible adjustments in the workplace for staff who need support in caring for younger and older dependents.

Sir David Nicholson, Chair of the NHS Equality and Diversity Council and NHS Chief Executive, said:

“Equality lies at the heart of what we believe about the NHS - its values, processes and behaviours. As we create the new health and care system, we have a major opportunity to reiterate that in the NHS everyone counts. Therefore, as we build a service that is personal, fair and diverse to its core, we are putting patients even more firmly at the centre of the service and working harder to remove any barriers that stop nurses and doctors reaching their full potential. We must make sure workplaces treat employees, as well as patients, fairly and well.  The EDS, which is launched today, will support all NHS organisations in making this a reality.”

During today’s visit to St Thomas’ Hospital in London, to see how they are implementing the Equality Delivery System, Paul Burstow MP, Minister of State for Care Services said:

“It is vital that we consistently deliver the best possible experience for patients, carers and staff in the NHS and I believe the Equality Delivery System provides the tools to do this.

“It has the potential to change the way that the NHS works for the better, helping to promote fairness, diversity and better patient care.”

Notes to editors:

1. For further information, contact Department of Health press office on 020 7210 5221.

2. The EDS is launched on 10th November 2011 by Sir David Nicholson, NHS Chief Executive and chair of the NHS Equality and Diversity Council, at The Peepul Centre in Leicester.

3. More information and a copy of the EDS is available on the NHS East Midlands website.

4. The NHS Equality and Diversity Council was established in 2009 and has a strategic role to support the NHS to deliver better outcomes for patients, comply with the Equality Act 2010, ensuring services and work places are personal, fair and diverse with equality of opportunity and treatment for all.  The EDC is chaired by the NHS Chief Executive, Sir David Nicholson and its membership includes representatives from the NHS, trade unions, patient groups, regulators and voluntary sector who are all committed to eliminating discrimination and can reach out to NHS staff, health and care organisations and communities through their own networks.