The Equality Act 2010 – an overview

The Equality Act 2010 – an overview

Protecting the rights of those in care

Depression, low self-esteem, stress, feeling isolated. These are just some of the impacts of discrimination. Long term exposure can also lead to difficulty in communicating, behavioural issues and lack of achievement.

Working in health and social care places a great responsibility on you and your organisation to ensure that the people you are looking after are treated equally and with respect. I’m sure that you would prefer not to be discriminated against just because of who you are. Vulnerable people are more likely to face discrimination or lack of inclusion purely because of their condition. Part of your job is to make sure that they are protected against this. In fact, it’s so important there are four pieces of legislation you need to be familiar with:

  • The Equality Act 2010 –  provides protection against discrimination for those who possess any of nine specific ‘protected characteristics’ – age, disability, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex, gender reassignment and sexual orientation.
  • The Human Rights Act 1998 – details basic human rights and principles of equality. The useful acronym FREDA (Fairness, Respect, Equality, Dignity, Autonomy) pretty much covers this.
  • The Mental Capacity Act 2005 – A subject all on its own. Flexible Training run courses on this involved subject. 
  • The Care Act 2014 – lists six key principles which act as a foundation for all work with vulnerable people. These are Empowerment, Prevention, Proportionality, Protection, Partnership and Accountability.

So, you can see the importance of understanding how to protect against discrimination and lack of inclusion. One simple way of this is just getting to know the person you are looking after. You’ll be able to better identify areas where discrimination is occurring and therefore make the necessary changes to defeat it.

It’s about dignity, respect and understanding of others beliefs and practices. It’s about confronting discrimination on behalf of others, something we all should pay more attention to!

Equality and Inclusion run hand in hand with Safeguarding and the Mental Capacity Act, each covering various aspects of care that you need to know and show understanding of. Flexible Training has courses covering all of these subjects so please get in touch to find out how we can help you and your organisation care for and protect those who need it.