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Analysing equality and diversity in social care

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Social Work
Wordcount: 2092 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Equality is about ‘creating a fairer society, where everyone can participate and has the opportunity to fulfil their potential’ (DH, 2004). It is about identifying patterns of experience based on group identity, and the challenging processes that limit individual’s ‘potential’ health and life chances. For example, occupational segregation. Women make up almost 75% of the NHS workforce but are concentrated in the lower-paid occupational areas: nursing, allied health professionals (AHPs), administrative workers and ancillary workers (DH, 2005). People from black and minority ethnic groups comprise 39.1% of hospital medical staff yet they comprise only 22.1% of all hospital medical consultants (DH, 2005).

An equalities approach understands that our social identity – in terms of gender, race, disability, age, social class, sexuality and religion – will impact on our life experiences.

Diversity literally means difference. When it is used as a contrast or addition to equality, it is about recognising individual as well as group differences, treating people as individuals, and placing positive value on diversity in the community and in the workforce.

Historically, employers and services have ignored certain differences. However, individual and group diversity needs to be considered in order to ensure that everybody’s needs and requirements are understood and responded to within employment practice and service design and delivery.

One way in which organisations have responded to the issue of diversity in recent years has been the development of flexibility in working practices and services. For example, an employer may allow an employee to work a flexible working pattern to accommodate child care arrangements, or a GP surgery may offer surgeries at the weekends in accommodate those who work full time during the week.

These approaches recognise that in order to be inclusive and equal to all, organisations may need to respond differently to individuals/groups.

Therefore, a commitment to equality in addition to recognition of diversity means that different can be equal.

Learning outcomes

Understand concepts of equality, diversity & rights in relation to Health and Social Care.

Equality and diversity is becoming more important in all aspects of our lives and work for a number of reasons.

We live in an increasingly diverse society and need to be able to respond appropriately and sensitively to this diversity. Learners in the healthcare setting will reflect this diversity around gender, race and ethnicity, disability, religion, sexuality, class and age.

Your organisation believes that successful implementation of equality and diversity in all aspects of work ensures that colleagues, staff and students are valued, motivated and treated fairly.

Every member of society is likely, at some point, to be a recipient of health and social care. The Department of Health can only achieve its aim of better health, care and well-being for all, by building an explicit commitment to equality, diversity and human rights throughout the health and social care system. All public organisations including the Department of Health and public providers and commissioners of health and social care services have a duty to promote equality. Successfully delivering these duties is a core part of the health and social care system’s objective to offer services that deliver high quality care for all.

To do this, the diversity of the population has to be recognised, in policy development through to service delivery and patient care, acknowledging the diverse experiences, aspirations and needs of staff, patients and service.

The Department of Health and local health and social care organisations continue to take proactive steps to address unequal access and outcomes experienced by some sections of the community. DH is working to ensure the principles and practicalities of fairness, equality, diversity and human rights are a central to the work of the Department.

In 2007 the UK established a new single equalities body, to bring together the existing equality Commissions dealing with gender, disability, and race and ethnicity into a Commission for Equality and Human Rights. The promotion and enforcement of ‘equality and diversity’ is one of the three duties of the new body. This paper briefly explores diversity in relation to the theory of gender equality and also examines developments in policy at the EU level, which has provided much of the impetus for change. Our focus is on the policy approach and the tensions that the policy documents reveal about the emphasis on equality and diversity approach, in particular the extent to which attention to gender issues may get lost in the diversity bundle, and the extent to which a focus on the individual may be strengthened over the group. This page lists some of the guidance materials produced by the former equality commissions and guidance produced by external organisations, who have given us permission to reproduce their materials on our site.

Understanding how discrimination can impact on individuals’ lives is essential to prevent potential discrimination within in teaching and learning situations and ensure that you are confident in dealing with discrimination issues if and when they arise.

While we can face discrimination because of any of these aspects, it is important that we also identify the links between social identities and individuality and/or a state and situation. Bad treatment can be multi-layered and occur because of:

Since 1998 the UK has also included human rights within its legal framework. The Human Rights Act applies to all public authorities and bodies performing a public function. The Human Rights Acts places the following responsibility on your organisation.

Organisations must promote and protect individuals’ human rights. This means treating people fairly, with dignity and respect while safeguarding the rights of the wider community.

Organisations should apply core human rights values, such as equality, dignity, privacy, respect and involvement, to all organisational service planning and decision making.

The Human Rights Act provides a complementary legal framework to the anti-discriminatory framework and the public duties.

The legal context

As a clinical teacher you will want to ensure that you understand the legal framework regarding equality, and that you can relate this framework to your everyday role. The UK framework has two elements to it: the anti- discriminatory framework (which gives individuals a route to raise complaints of discrimination around employment and service delivery) and the public duties (which place a proactive duty on organisations to address institutional discrimination).

The SEN and Disability Act 2001 extended the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 to education with effect from September 2002. This act requires teachers to explore the provision of reasonable adjustments for students who may have disabilities, including learning disabilities, to enable them to participate effectively.

Beliefs are the assumptions we make about ourselves, about others in the world and about how we expect things to be. Beliefs are about how we think things really are, what we think is really true and what therefore expect as likely consequences that will follow from our behavior.

Since the last comprehensive review in 1974, the Health Belief Model (HBM) has continued to be the focus of considerable theoretical and research attention. This article presents a critical review of 29 HBM-related investigations published during the period 1974-1984, tabulates the findings from 17 studies conducted prior to 1974, and provides a summary of the total 46 HBM studies (18 prospective, 28 retrospective).

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Twenty-four studies examined preventive-health be haviors (PHB), 19 explored sick-role behaviors (SRB), and three addressed clinic utilization. A “significance ratio” was constructed which divides the number of positive, statistically- significant findings for an HBM dimension by the total number of studies reporting significance levels for that dimension. Summary results provide substantial empirical support for the HBM, with findings from prospective studies at least as favorable as those obtained from retrospective research. “Perceived barriers” proved to be the most powerful of the HBM dimensions across the various study designs and behaviors.

While both were important overall, “perceived sus ceptibility” was a stronger contributor to understanding PHB than SRB, while the reverse was true for “perceived benefits.” “Perceived severity” produced the lowest overall significance ratios; however, while only weakly associated with PHB, this dimension was strongly related to SRB. On the basis of the evidence compiled, it is recommended that consideration of HBM dimensions be a part of health education programming. Suggestions are offered for further research.

It is important for care workers to promote equality, value diversity and respect the rights of service users. There are various ways of how they can challenge discriminatory issues and practices in health and social care.

One of the ways in which care worker can promote equality, value diversity and respect the rights of service users is to always put the patient/service user at the heart of the service provision. This means that the patients’ individual needs will be met and achieved

Human rights’ are the basic rights and freedoms that belong to every person in the world.

Ideas about human rights have evolved over many centuries. But they achieved strong international support following the Holocaust and World War II. To protect future generations from a repeat of these horrors, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. For the first time, the Universal Declaration set out the fundamental rights and freedoms shared by all human beings. These rights and freedoms – based on core principles like dignity, equality and respect – inspired a range of international and regional human rights treaties. For example, they formed the basis for the European Convention on Human Rights in 1950. The European Convention protects the human rights of people in countries that belong to the Council of Europe. This includes the United Kingdom.

Until recently, people in the United Kingdom had to complain to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg if they felt their rights under the European Convention had been breached.

for example; a personal eating plan to a specific individual. Putting the service user at the centre of the provision generally makes a happier and healthier patient in all areas. Care workers can help achieve this by: * Understanding what it is like to use those services * Involving those who use the services

Another example can be quoted as, Rights of one patient will clash with the rights of another A patient has the right to watch TV or listen to the radio, while the patient in the next bed has the right the right to an undisturbed sleep the rights of these two patients clash. By providing earphones could help resolve this.

If patients share a room one wants the door propped open and the other one doesn’t although this is a clash of rights the rights of the patient who wanted the door closed would outweigh the other as propping open doors is a fire risk

Care settings must provide services in such a way that all service users get equal benefit for them. For example a person who does not have English as their first language may require a translator in order to understand the services available and to express a choice about them. One of the most beneficial ways in which a social care setting can challenge anti – discriminatory is through staff development and training this may be done formally through supervision sessions or more informally in the course of day to day working. The manager should supervise the work of their staff, offer advice and guidance in difficult situations and help the workers identify training opportunities to improve their practise. 


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