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ISD Scotland better information, better decisions, better health


Equality and Diversity

NHS National Services Scotland ISD Scotland & NHS National Services Scotland


NHSScotland Policy Current Drivers

Equally Well: Report of the Ministerial Task Force on Health Inequalities, was published in June 2008 and laid out a number of recommendations for change in policy, practice and delivery:

Recommendation 74
"The Government should commission a review of health data needs which covers gender, ethnicity, age, disability, religion and belief, sexual orientation and transgender. The review should be published and include a plan of action with milestones to fill information gaps identified."

Recommendation 75
" NHS targets should be set to support work on patient monitoring and collection of equalities data, led by the Equality and Diversity Information Project at NHS National Services for Scotland ( ISD)".

The NHS Quality Strategy published in May 2010 stated

"NHSScotland is committed to understanding the needs of different communities, eliminating discrimination, reducing inequality, protecting human rights and building good relations by breaking down barriers that may be preventing people from accessing the care and services that they need, as well as meeting the legal duties in relation to age, race, disability and gender"
"Develop a programme of action to ensure that peoples' equality needs are gathered, shared and responded to across health services by Summer 2011".

Audit Scotland Managing NHS waiting lists: A review of new arrangements.
Edinburgh : Audit Scotland; 2010

"improve systems for recording patients' additional needs and put appropriate support in place for those who need it"

"ensure that communication with patients takes account of any need for additional support and tailor information to meet these needs"

"continue to work with primary care to improve communication with patients, so that both primary care staff and patients are clear about their responsibilities under the new system, particularly the implications for patients of not attending their appointments"

Auditor General for Scotland Overview of mental health services, May 2009

"There is a lack of information on community mental health services. Community mental health teams (CMHTs) bring together staff from councils and NHS boards to deliver care in the community and to provide a link with psychiatric wards to smooth the transition during admission and discharge from hospital. Limited information on CMHT activity is available from the Information Services Division but not all NHS boards provide the information; where it is provided it is collected differently, levels of accuracy vary and not all boards are able to break down the information by different age groups, which makes comparisons difficult."

Scotland Performs

Scotland Performs offers accountability based on national priorities set out in the National Performance Framework. NHSScotland is the first partner organisation to report performance through Scotland Performs.


The eHealth Programme aims to change the way in which information and related technology are used within NHSScotland in order to improve the quality of patient care.


Equality and Human Rights Commission(EHRC)

Has a statutory remit to promote and monitor human rights; and to protect, enforce and promote equality across the seven "protected" grounds - age, disability, gender, race, religion and belief, sexual orientation and gender reassignment.

The UK Government's Equality Act 2010 includes a new public sector Equality Duty which will require public authorities to be active in promoting equality, eliminating unlawful conduct and fostering good relations. The new Duty will come into force on 6 April 2011 and provides a single, consistent framework covering race, gender, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion or belief and pregnancy/maternity. NHS boards in Scotland will require information on the above equality characteristics for their patients to demonstrate that they are meeting the new public sector equality duty.

Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)

The EHRC has published guidance on the new public sector equality duty, which comes into force on 6th April 2011.

Equality Impact Assessment

The specific duties of the Equality Act 2010 require a listed authority (such as an NHS Board) to assess the impact of its proposed policies and practices, including changes and revisions of its existing policies and practices, on people with relevant protected characteristics and on your ability to fulfil the general duty; and consider relevant evidence relating to people with different protected characteristics as part of an assessment; and have due regard to the results of such assessments.

Human Rights Act 1998

The Human Rights Act 1998 came into force in the United Kingdom in October 2000. It is composed of a series of sections that have the effect of codifying the protections in the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law.
All public bodies (such as courts, police, local governments, hospitals, publicly funded schools, and others) and other bodies carrying out public functions have to comply with the Convention rights.
Further information and explanation about the Act is available on the Equality and Human Rights Commission website.

© ISD Scotland 2010
Information Services Division,
NHS National Services Scotland,
Gyle Square,
1 South Gyle Crescent,
Edinburgh EH12 9EB,
Tel: 0131 275 7050  
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ISD is a division of NHS NSS
Working at the very heart of the health service, NSS delivers services critical to frontline patient care and in support of the efficient and effective operation of NHS Scotland. Visit the NSS Website for more information