NHS Equality Delivery System launched

On 10th November, 2011 the NHS Equality Delivery System (EDS) was launched in Leicester.  The EDS has been Initiated by the NHS Equality and Diversity Council (EDC) which was established in 2009 to provide strategic support the NHS in order to deliver better outcomes for patients, comply with the Equality Act 2010, ensure 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.

The EDS is a framework tool that is designed to address previous deficits in the NHS performance on equality by assisting NHS organisations 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.

Speaking at the Launch Sir David Nicholson 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.

TIFCI is working with local communities and NHS commissioners and providers in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire to develop specific race equality objectives for the EDS. Professor Lord Patel of Bradford OBE said:

I am very pleased that TIFCI will be working on the EDS and I especially welcome the prioritisation of race equality which is something I have personally been involved in fighting for over many years. The EDS is a new tool for the NHS and much still needs to be developed to make sure that it is a success. The Health and Social Care Bill is still being debated in the House of Lords and we have yet to see the final way in which NHS commissioning and services will be organised and delivered. However, what is clear from Earl Howe’s (Minister for Health in the Lords) recent statement on equality in the NHS reforms is that it will be central to the NHS Outcomes Framework and the Secretary of State’s annual report which will determine the objectives for the NHS Commissioning Board and HealthWatch England. We will have to take account of the new commissioning structures in making the EDS work and the programme of development and setting of objectives must speak to the emerging Clinical Commissioning Groups.  Most importantly, the EDS assessment process needs to demonstrate that the NHS is taking equality seriously and that local community groups are effectively engaged in setting priorities, establishing objectives and driving future change and quality improvements.

 To learn more about the EDS and download key documents follow this link NHS Equality Delivery System


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