Unit 2: Equality, diversity and rights in health and social care
P1: Explain the concepts of equality, diversity and rights in relation to health and social care
Equality is defined as the state of being equal, especially in status, rights or opportunities. The Equality Act 2010 helps the NHS work towards eliminating discrimination and inequalities in care. The NHS already has values and principles set out in the NHS Constitution about equality and fairness but the Equality Act reinforces many of them. By law every organisation must have an equal opportunities policy that all employees can see, this is to ensure that nobody is treated unfairly. An example of equality within health and social care is everybody having access to the healthcare they need regardless of gender, age, sexuality, race, culture or religion.
Diversity refers to social, cultural or ethnic differences within a population. In relation to health and social care, an important issue for care practitioners and care organisations is how best to respond to the needs of a diverse population, while also ensuring that every service user enjoys equality. For example; services have to meet the particular needs of people of different ages, genders, people who have differing ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and people with a broad range of abilities, disabilities, illnesses and impairments. The benefits of social and cultural diversity need to be appreciated in order to provide appropriate care services in a fair and equal way. Diversity means employing people from different backgrounds, cultures and countries so that they can help meet the needs of the diverse population the NHS provides services for.
In every type of care setting practitioners should actively promote the equality and rights of the individual, whether the individual is a service user, friend or relative or a colleague. Individual’s rights are promoted by implementing the principles of the care value base (a set of principles that guide care practice). The individual’s rights include; the right to be respected, to be treated equally and fairly, to be treated in a dignified way, to be protected from danger and harm, to be allowed access to information about themselves, to be able to communicate using their preferred method and language, to be cared for in a way that meets their needs, to not be discriminated against and to have their personal choices taken into account. An example of the individual’s rights being promoted in health and social care is a healthcare worker challenging instances of prejudice and discrimination, as this is protecting the service user’s rights to be treated equally and fairly and to not be discriminated against.
P2: Describe discriminatory practice in health and social care
Discriminati9on can occur to any individual or group that is different from the dominant or prevailing norm in any given situation, this means that anyone can experience discrimination at any time.
Discrimination can be obvious, direct and deliberate and this is known as overt discrimination, discrimination that occurs inadvertently or carried out in secret is known as covert discrimination. There are many forms discrimination can take and some that can occur in health and social care are racism, it can be expressed institutionally where an organisation inadvertently disadvantages or deliberately treats people of a particular race or ethnic group less favourably. Sexism can also occur at institutional, individual or at group level. Homophobia is a prejudice that can lead to hostility and hate crimes, physical threats and violence.
Stereotyping is a form of discrimination and occurs quite often. In the video “Waiting on a Telegram” Violet, who is a 95-year-old resident at a care home for the elderly, is subject to stereotyping. Violet has previously suffered from a stroke and has a very strong accent and dialect, her carers are very young and mistake Violet’s humour and way of conversation for negative effects of the stroke and think of Violet as being “not all there” due to her age, when in fact it is the care worker who doesn’t understand or make any effort to. Stereotyping is applying simplified labels or standardised views to individuals or groups. In this situation Violet in a health and social care setting was being stereotyped by a care worker as not knowing what she was talking about because of her age, which is also ageist.