If you work within the care industry you will know of the importance of this particular subject.
Equality and diversity are essential components of health and social care. Having quality and established equality and diversity practices help to ensure that the services provided are fair and accessible to all.
So, what is the definition of equality and diversity and where do they fit within your business practices?
Equality means ensuring that all those within your setting have equal opportunities, regardless of abilty, background or lifestyle.
Diversity means appreciating the differences between people and treating people’s values, beliefs, cultures and lifestyles with respect.
If you work within the health or social care sector you will be aware of four key laws to follow. These are;
- The Equality Act 2010 – The Equality Act 2010 brings together a number of existing laws into one place so that it is easier to use. It sets out the personal characteristics that are protected by the law and the behaviour that is unlawful. These are age, disability, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex, gender reassignment and sexual orientation.
- The Human Rights Act 1998 – this legislation outlines the basic human rights and principles of equality. The ‘FREDA’ acronym helps you to remember what is covered by the Act: Fairness, Respect, Equality, Dignity and Autonomy.
- The Mental Capacity Act 2005 – The Mental Capacity Act (MCA) is designed to protect and empower individuals who may lack the mental capacity to make their own decisions about their care and treatment. It is a law that applies to individuals aged 16 and over.
- The Care Act 2014 – The Care Act 2014 came into effect from April 2015 and replaced most previous law regarding carers and people being cared for. this legislation provides six key principles which should underpin all work with vulnerable adults. This includes ensuring that adults receive support that’s personal to them, chosen by them and has their consent.
The importance of getting all of the above right can never be underestimated. It is key to remember, within care, that patients/service users are individuals and should always be treated as such. This is particularly important for any adults in need who, for a variety of reasons such as disability, illness or age, are not subsequently to take sufficient care of themselves or keep themselves from harm.
The main focus for promoting equality and diversity in the workplace is to prevent any kind of discrimination so being very aware of everything within your setting is key. Having stringest staff policies, up-to-date training and extremely regular checks will make the difference. Remember each patient or service user is an individual so when a new member arrives what may have been suitable in the past may NOT now be suitable for that person whether it is accessibility within the setting for example.