Southern Health has a commitment to champion diversity and inclusion and promote equal opportunity in everything we do. We want to enable an organisational culture that values diversity and demonstrates due regards to the protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010.
Our Diversity and Inclusion Strategy provides us with a clear delivery model for equality and diversity and helps us to respond to our legal, regulatory and commissioner requirements. This strategy also contributes to the vision, values and priorities of our Trust.
Equality, diversity and human rights are enshrined in the NHS Constitution and central to everything we do at our Trust.
We want to be recognised as a national leader for the delivery of equality and diversity.
The Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) is set out within the Equality Act 2010 and details:
Aim 1: eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct
Aim 2: advance equality of opportunity between people who share protected characteristics
Aim 3: foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those
The Act also explains that having due regard for advancing equality involves:
- removing or minimising disadvantages suffered by people due to their protected characteristics;
- taking steps to meet the needs of people from protected groups where these are different from the needs of other people;
- encouraging people from protected groups to participate in public life or in other activities where their participation is disproportionately low.
The Equality Act (2010)
The Equality Act has brought together and streamlined many strands of previous equality legislation in England, Scotland and Wales. It also introduces the new “public sector equality duty” (PSED), which is made up of the general equality duty which is supported by specific duties.
The Act extends protection to the nine protected characteristic groups: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.
Being an Ally means being willing to act with and for others in pursuit of ending discrimination and creating
equality and inclusion.
The NHS and society as a whole both need Allies. In the NHS we need to proactively and tirelessly work to achieve equality of opportunity and experience for all.
We currently have over 500 Allies at Southern Health and very first Ally was Lynne Hunt, our Chair.
Our Ally training programme explores:
- Understanding what an Ally is
- Recognising one’s own privileges and using these to support colleagues
- Learning the importance of becoming an Ally in the workplace
- Empowering others around you to become an Ally
We collectively need to reaffirm our total opposition to all forms of discrimination and abhorrent behaviour. Injustice wherever it occurs has dramatic effects on you, our staff and citizens, especially those from diverse backgrounds. Not only do Allies support people that are discriminated against, but they help others understand the importance of equality, fairness, acceptance and mutual respect.
Vox Pop Networks
Our Vox Pop networks are open forums, run by staff and for staff, to provide a safe and supportive environment to discuss issues relating to protected characteristic.
These networks have been established to increase awareness and appreciation of equality, diversity and inclusion at Southern Health. They also aim to provide a platform where people can find support and where equality objectives can be progressed.
The network Co-Chairs enable the networks to be staff and community led, with the aim to give those people from seldom heard groups a platform within the organisation with the intention to improve experience and outcomes across the employee journey. The events combine a sprinkle of academic research and our organisational values, to offer our staff a fresh and exciting way to promote inclusion and celebrate diversity.
The Department of Health has laid out a clear ambition for the NHS which is to be a health service that is responsive to the needs of and accountable to all members of all communities. A service that delivers high quality care for all, that takes appropriate account of individual differences. A service that commits to the ethos of 'everyone counts' and equality is integral to quality. This applies to all healthcare services provided or commissioned by the NHS. It applies to staff as well as patients and we support this ambition.
The Trust is committed to employment practices which aim to make sure that all staff feel valued and are treated with dignity and respect in an inclusive environment which acknowledges difference and celebrates diversity.
- The Trust continues to strive to improve its quality of care for our patients with the aim of providing a positive patient experience
- The Trust works to continually improve its employment practices and advance equal opportunities
- The Trust sees equality and diversity as central to this work and core to our business
The Trust uses a data led approach to all of our work on diversity and inclusion. Whilst the health and wellbeing of all our staff is paramount, data shows those protected under the Equality Act 2010 have a poorer experience.
We will not tolerate discrimination in any of it's forms. Southern Health is an anti-discriminatory organisation.
The NHS has to make it as easy for disabled people to use health services as it is for people who are not disabled. This is called making reasonable adjustments and it is a legal requirement.
These could be things like:
- making sure there is wheelchair access in hospitals
- providing easy read appointment letters
- giving someone a priority appointment if they find it difficult waiting in their GP surgery or hospital
- longer appointments if someone needs more time with a doctor or nurse to make sure they understand the information they are given.
Watch the video below to see how reasonable adjustments can help people with a learning disability and autistic people live longer and healthier lives. You can find out more about reasonable adjustments on the NHS website.
This video has been made by Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
It is a spoken poem on how important reasonable adjustments are to ensure people with Learning Disabilities access mainsteam services.
You can read our 2022 Diversity and Inclusion Annual Report here: Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust Diversity and Inclusion Annual Report 2022.
We are currently redesigning our equality standard which will be launched soon.