Human rights act 1998
This is useful within the UK because lays down the law which every individual is entitled too. These rights give us freedom. They may affect many things such as the rights to live and the rights to die also the rights we use in everyday life. National initiatives promote anti-discriminatory practice so issues are prevented from happening.
Freedom from torture and degrading treatment – This mean treatment causing severe mental or physical suffering and degrading treatment means treatment that is grossly humiliating or undignified. Examples of relevant issues relating to this would be physical or psychological or other types of harm, soiled or unchanged clothing or bedding, person care carried out in view of other people and leaving food for service users or patients when they are unable to feed themselves.
The right to a fair trial – This right does not apply to criminal proceedings but to a broad range of areas where an individual civil rights or responsibilities are decided upon. Examples of relevant issues relating to this would be compensation claims, the complaints procedure of public bodies and appeal procedures in social security, mental health care and treatment tribunals.
The right to freedom or liberty – This is a right not to be deprived of liberty in an arbitrary way. Examples of relevant issues relating to this would be informal detention in hospital of people who lack capacity to consent to admission, excessive, arbitrary and inappropriate use of restraint in health and social care setting and delays in discharging people detained under mental health legislation.
The right not to be discriminated against – This discrimination act can be direct or indirect. An individual can only use the human rights act to argue discrimination of another human right is breached. Example of relevant issue would be information or options presented in inaccessible ways, failing to offer food to take account of cultural differences and access to medical treatment or community care services, based on age, disability, gender or ethnic origin etc.
The right to life – This is when public authorities must take steps to protect an individual’s life, in almost all circumstances, and must not take away a person’s life except in very limited circumstances. For example, when lawfully defending someone from violence. Examples of relevant issues would be refusal of life saving treatment, advance directives, deaths caused by negligence and local authorities failing to act to protect and adult who is at series risk of harm.
The right to respect for private and family life, home and correspondence – Family life in wider that blood or formal relationships. Private life covers privacy, personal choices, relationships and participation in community life. Home is respect for the home someone has and correspondence is all communication for example phone calls, letters and email. Examples of relevant issues would be independent living, staff in care homes, supported accommodation or hospitals etc. controlling phone calls, mail without authority, closure of residential care home or hospitals and privacy at home, in a hospital or care home.
Sex Discrimination Act 1975
The Act came into force in 12th November 1975. This Act is to protect men and women against discrimination or harassment on the grounds of gender in employment, education, and advertising or in the provision of housing, goods, services or facilities. Sexual harassment, or offensive conduct related to an individual’s sex/gender, can be insidious and take many forms. Examples of relevant issues would be inappropriate sexual attention, advances and request for sexual favours can all be forms of sexual harassment, as can any conduct, whether verbal or physical, of a sexual nature. A lot of the time, those who perpetrate this unacceptable behaviour try to excuse it by saying that it was just a joke or that it was meant sincerely, for instance as a compliment, however in reality such conduct can build into a hostile environment for those being harassed.
There are many ways to promote anti-discriminatory practice within health and social care and have minimal chance of failure. One way is staff training, this can be effective as it gives the workers awareness in to how the practice is shown and ways to identify it, informs them on how to prevent it from happening and to stop it from happening again. Train helps them to get better understanding and gives them a clear structure to follow to deal with the practice and how to avoid breaking the law. Training also allow the worker to experience being in the service users shoes and shows them the effects of discrimination in hope to deter them from doing it again.
A different way health organizations promote anti-discriminatory practice is by making sure they are very welcoming to everyone; they do this by communicating to people in their preferred way. If they are unable to do this service they should get someone who can for example a translator. Consideration should be taken into the different beliefs and values of the service users, this would be beneficial as it would make the service user feel valued and respected. For example if a service user is Muslim, allowing them to pray five times a day as they are required to do so. Having posters and displays located around are also a good way to promote anti-discrimination, especially if they are on every notice board. These displays should inform the service users on the rights they are entitled to, ways in which anti-discriminatory practice is shown and where to go for more advice.
Difficulties that may arise when implementing anti-discriminatory practice in a health and social care setting could be socialisation. Socialisation is where the ‘norms’ of society are adopted by people through learning about behaviour and having situations where influences and norms of society effect the way people behave. An example of socialisation preventing anti-discriminatory practice is through culture. People saying ‘please’ and ‘thankyou’ to things may be the seen as the right thing to do where as in other cultures it may not be normal.
If someone does not say ‘please’ or ‘thankyou’ to something this may be seen as rude, and could make the person treat the other person differently. Another difficulty could be language and communication barrier which could prevent anti-discriminatory practice. This could be through differences in the way people speak to one another which may be hard to understand e.g. different accents. Also the use of jargon could create a discriminatory practice and prevent the promotion of anti-discriminatory practice, this could be through the professionals getting annoyed if the service user does not understand what is being said and this could be because they are using jargon and not helping the individual to understand.
There are several national initiatives and legislations in place to ensure that individuals are not discriminated due to their circumstances. These national initiatives such as the mental health act and mental 1983 and the mental capacity act 2005. The mental health act 1983 was amended in 2007 with the mental health capacity act is guided for health care to follow for the benefits and protecting the rights of people with mental disorders with primary objectives to make sure individuals can receive effective care and treatment. It has been shown that there is a tendency of mentally ill patients being stigmatised by the public and even health care professionals under their care. This act came into force 2007 after series of reported abuse and neglect found in mental health institution which is characterised with discrimination.
This act is to protect service users from abuse and discrimination by providing guideline in which a health care professional must follow to protect the patient. The Act sets out the criteria that must be met before compulsory measures can be taken, along with protections and safeguards. The Act is to remove the stigmatisation from patients who suffer from mental health. Section 127 of the Act stipulates a maximum penalty of five years for ill treatment or neglect of a patient. The Act does not cover discrimination in the community, it only focuses on admission to hospital. Therefore the inclusion of mental health in the Equality Act 2010. The Equality Act 2010 makes it illegal to discriminate directly or indirectly against people with mental health problems in public services and functions, access to premises, work, education, associations and transport.
To overcome communication you could use a care plan for the service user. It is important that you develop an understanding of needs and preferences for people. You could then find out their preferred method of communication and will help you find out more about the service user. If a service is death or prefers to use sign language then staff may need to undergo training to learn it or get an interpreter to overcome the barrier to communication. I think that this is a very good way to overcome the difficulty as your knowledge on the individual will develop and all the skills will be useful to avoid trigger situations such as aggression.
It is important to use care plans to communicate effectively as it can help you to understand what an individual is saying. It also means that they are able to express their own needs and concerns. To overcome a cultural and beliefs barrier, the first strategy would be acknowledging and admitting there is an existence between one another. This mainly includes differences in interpretations, perceptions and evaluations of social situations. By you having a good understanding of the beliefs and culture will help the carer to understand more of what the service user actually wants. This is a good way to overcome the barrier as the service user will be enable to proceed with their religion with the health and social care professional knowing exactly how to deal with the patient adapting to their preferences.
Clements. P. & Spinks, T. (2009) The Equal Opportunities Handbook: How to Recognise Diversity, Encourage Fairness and Promote Anti-discriminatory Practice London: Kogon Page ltd
Pearson [Health and Social Care Level 3] National 2010, Book 1
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