The Equality Act
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The Equality Act brings together over 116 separate pieces of legislation into this one Act. All together this provides a legal framework to protect the rights of people and have equality of opportunity for everyone. The 9 characteristics that are protected by the Equality Act 2010 are: age
marriage or civil partnership
pregnancy and maternity
religion or belief
The Act legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in society by setting out the different ways in which it is unlawful to treat someone. In Silver Birch, they would follow the Equality Act which would help to promote anti-discriminatory practice by making sure the residents are treated equally and respected regardless of factors such as disability, race or sexual orientation. For example, a heterosexual black male will be treated the same as a homosexual white female from a different country.
The code of conduct for nurses
The code of conduct for nurses is a set of rules outlining the responsibilities of nurses in their setting and how they should be caring for their patients. Overall, the main points covered by this is for nurses to safeguard the health and wellbeing of the public, deliver high quality healthcare consistently, keep their skills and knowledge up to date, uphold the standards of their professional code and to have fair processes to investigate allegations made against nurses. This code of conducts helps to promote anti-discriminatory practice because it makes sure that nurses know that they have a duty of care and that people must be able to trust them with their lives and health. It also ensures that nurses will be help personally accountable for their actions and failure to comply may bring their fitness to practice into question. Silver Birch’s nurses will all have to comply with this code of conduct which will mean for example, that they will ensure they have gained informed consent from a resident before starting any kind of care or treatment on them.
The Patient’s Charter is a UK government document that sets out the rights for National Health Service patients. These include things such as the right to information about your own health, the right to confidentiality and the right to receive the most appropriate care available. Silver Birch will have a patient’s charter and it may have a point about having the right to be treated as an individual so the residents will all be treated according to their own individual needs. For example, if a deaf person came into the care home then the carers will make sure their individual communication needs are met by assigning them a carer who knows sign language or getting them an interpreter.
An equality policy is a document that sets out an organisation’s commitment to tackle discrimination and promote equality and diversity in areas such as recruitment, training, management and pay. If a workplace has an equality policy then they are showing that they are committed to promoting diversity and preventing discrimination. Silver Birch will have an equality policy implemented that will help the workers be treated fairly and not discriminated against, for example, the recruitment team won’t select a candidate based on the colour of their skin but rather on their experience and skills and will treat them equally. Therefore, this helps to promote anti-discriminatory practice in Silver Birch among its staff by making sure that no one feels like they are being treated unfairly but as equals.
M2 Assess the influence of a recent national policy initiative promoting anti-discriminatory practice
The equality policy has a big influence in promoting anti-discriminatory practice in Silver Birch. For example, one of the principles is to ‘create a working environment that promotes dignity and respect for all no form of intimidation, bullying or harassment will be tolerated’ (http://www.healthcarehomes.co.uk/Equality-and-Diversity-Policy/) and this helps both the employees and the residents to always be treated with dignity and be respected by others. This could protect discrimination against a resident by making sure that when they are being bathed or getting help with undressing that their privacy is respected i.e. closing the door and that they are treated in a dignified way i.e. not making fun of them. But this can also help the staff too because without the policy in place, co-workers may bully or harass the carer responsible for duties like these, labelling them as ‘gross’, for example, leading to marginalisation from the main staff group.
However, because the policy is in place and because it has this principle it helps to avoid this kind of discrimination by outlining that this kind of overt abuse will not be tolerated. Another principle within the equality policy is ‘to regularly review services to ensure they are accessible and appropriate to all groups within society’ (http://www.healthcarehomes.co.uk/Equality-and-Diversity-Policy/). This helps to promote anti-discriminatory practice in Silver Birch because it will protect the staff and residents from discrimination based on prejudicial perceptions by others because of certain factors such as gender, race, religion, background or sexual orientation. Therefore, it has a huge influence in minimising things like racism, sexism and homophobia.
As a result, there will be equity in what is available to the staff and residents, meaning no restricted opportunities so disempowerment from being marginalised is avoided. For example, for staff of Silver Birch this could be in terms of recruitment so that anyone applying for a job there will not be discriminated against and will not be judged on their race, for example, but rather their personality, skills and work experience. With regards to residents, this could help avoid discrimination in activities, for example no specific gender clubs or outings for a certain culture so that everyone is treated the same and has equal opportunities.
D1 Evaluate the success of a recent initiative in promoting anti-discriminatory practice
The main strength of having an equality policy in Silver Birch is that is protects its staff and residents from abuse and discrimination by promoting equality and diversity. It does this by having its opening policy statement as them being ‘committed to encouraging diversity and eliminating discrimination in both its role as an employer and as a provider of services’ (http://www.healthcarehomes.co.uk/Equality-and-Diversity-Policy/). This highlights how important being diverse and equal is to Silver Birch so this can help make sure that everyone, staff and residents, are aware of this aim and will all therefore do their best to stick to it and treat everyone equally. Another strength is that the people in Silver Birch will not only be more alert and aware of the types of abuse but will also be more likely to challenge any negative behaviour they see.
This is because due to the policy being in place, they are now aware of what is right and what is wrong in the treatment of others. For example, a nurse may be noticing one of the residents being quiet and alone all the time and showing signs of low self-esteem and because of the policy the nurse will know that this could be due to marginalisation or disempowerment as a result of discrimination. Therefore, the nurse can talk to the resident and help them become happier and more confident and also make sure that the person doing the bullying punished because part of the equality policy is ‘to treat breaches of our Equality and Diversity Policy seriously and to take disciplinary action when required’ (http://www.healthcarehomes.co.uk/Equality-and-Diversity-Policy/).
The main weakness of the equality policy in Silver Birch is that discrimination still happens because it is only a guide for the staff and residents so it’s all up to them whether they adhere to the principles or not. Certain types of negative behaviours are difficult to monitor such as covert discrimination. Because this is hard to monitor, it doesn’t get reported, resulting in high levels of undetected covert discrimination. ‘Four reviews examining ageism and age discrimination in health and social care in the UK carried out by the Centre for Policy on Ageing found widespread evidence of the unjustified differential treatment of older people as a group in both health and social care services’ (http://www.cpa.org.uk/cpa/cpa_press_release_100127.pdf). This was mostly covert. An example of this happening in Silver Birch would be a carer being alone in a residents room and harassing them where no one else can witness it so it goes unnoticed, and therefore unreported.
A second weakness is that everyone has their own unique background and upbringing so everyone has their own preconceived ideas about certain types of people which can’t be changed. ‘Values have a major influence on the actions of practitioners’ (http://www.nursingtimes.net/Journals/2013/01/18/p/r/c/080211How-do-nurses-cope-when-values-and-practice-conflict.pdf) for example, there could be a Catholic nurse in Silver Birch who has a gay resident in their care. This will likely lead to discrimination and unequal treatment due to the nurse’s views on homosexuality i.e. that it’s wrong, just because of their religion and the way they were brought up in that belief.
In conclusion, although some types of discrimination in Silver Birch may go unnoticed and may still happen due to personal beliefs and values, the equality policy still has important strengths which far outweigh any negatives. The most beneficial of them being that it helps to create and equal and diverse environment for both staff and residents and outlines set principles that work towards ensuring everyone is treated with dignity and respect and not discriminated against for any reason be it race or gender, sexual orientation or religion. Therefore, the initiative has succeeded in promoting anti-discriminatory practice at Silver Birch.
http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=code+of+conduct+definition&oq=code+of+conduct+definition&aqs=chrome.0.0l6.8126j0j8&sourceid=chrome&es_sm=122&ie=UTF-8&gws_rd=ssl 18/12/14 http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=patients+charter+definition&oq=patients+charter+definition&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.7247j0j4&sourceid=chrome&es_sm=122&ie=UTF-8&gws_rd=ssl 18/12/14 https://www.gov.uk/equality-act-2010-guidance 08/01/15