Equality and Diversity

Participation will only be meaningful and effective if the NHS in Scotland recognises the diversity of Scotland's people and supports and encourages all sections of society to get involved, whether as active partners in their own care or by engagement in wider discussions about services. Yet there is a long way to go to ensure that this happens consistently across the country. Link opens in a new windowEvidence shows that there are health inequalities in Scotland and that there are still Link opens in a new windowsignificant gaps in the groups that are involved by the NHS. If these gaps are not addressed, it is likely that the inequalities that exist will continue and become more entrenched.

We support NHS Scotland's aim to eliminate discrimination and promote equality of opportunity for everyone, particularly people from the following groups:

  • Disabled people
  • Faith and religious groups
  • Minority ethnic communities (including gypsy travellers, refugees and asylum seekers)
  • Older people, children and young people
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people
  • Women and men

Promoting equality and diversity

We have an important role to play in promoting equality and eliminating unlawful discrimination in the NHS with regard to participation. Our role and our relationships with stakeholders mean we are well placed to make a valuable and positive impact in all that we do. This applies across all of our core functions:

  • Community Engagement and Improvement Support
    Through our work with Boards and our relationships with diverse local community groups and networks, we support Boards to improve their approaches to involving people and promote a more inclusive approach. This includes supporting the development of Public Partnership Forums that are able to engage with and represent sections of local communities that might otherwise be excluded.

  • Service Change
    Our service change team promotes an inclusive approach to involving people in service change, working with Boards to ensure that they are meeting the equalities expectations which are outlined in relevant guidance, including Health Inequalities Assessments.

  • Participation Standard
    An Equality Impact Assessment of the Standard has confirmed that it has the potential to have a positive impact on all equality groups and has been designed to promote equal opportunities and eliminate unfair discrimination. We reinforce this message in all of the work that we do to support the implementation of the Standard and other improvement activity.

  • Participation Network
    We promote key messages about the importance of an inclusive approach to participation through all of the Network's activities: sharing good practice through our web resources, events and publications; producing guidance and standards; and influencing policy development. The Network also carries out targeted work on specific equality strands, such as involving young people.

Equality and diversity resources

The Link opens in a new window NHS Health Scotland Equality Team provides information and resources to support the NHS in Scotland to reduce inequality based on the protected characteristics:age, disability, gender re-assignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex and sexual orientation.

The Link opens in a new window Equality and Human Rights Commission champions equality and human rights for all and works to eliminate discrimination, reduce inequality, protect human rights and build good relations, ensuring that everyone has a fair chance to participate in society. All relevant equality, diversity and human rights legislation is located in this website.

Meeting our obligations

We are committed to promoting a positive approach to equalities, both as an employer and through our work with volunteers.

We are accountable through Link opens in a new windowHealthcare Improvement Scotland for compliance with equalities legislative requirements. We work with staff across the organisation to ensure a robust and consistent approach and to share skills and expertise.

We also carry out Equality Impact Assessments (EQIAs) of policies and services we develop, in order to identify their potential impact on our staff and stakeholders. This helps us ensure that the services we provide promote equality for all and do not discriminate certain groups.