Many national initiatives have been developed over the years as society becomes more progressive and tolerant, the results of these legislative regulation at every level from international law all the way down to individual practice policy have an effect on anti-discriminatory practice in health and social care systems
Conventions and fundamental and regulation
European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1950
Article 14 in this convention concerns discrimination and prohibits discrimination based on many different factors such as Race, Sex, Age etc. It also can extend to protect against discrimination of different sexual orientation and legal rights of people under national law. In terms of Health and social care and anti-discriminatory practice this Article is very important as it sets the basis for a non-discriminatory Health a Social care System. This article states in essence that by and large everyone has the right to be treated without being discriminated against for any illogical reason such as a person not being treated because they mentally Ill. It should mean also that more health professionals cannot be hired based on discrimination from the employer against other applicants. E.G a dental practice picks a Caucasian applicant over an Asian Applicant based purely on their own prejudice against Asian people.
Sex Discrimination Act 1975
This act dictates that men and women are protected by law from being discriminated against on the bases of their sex or marital status. This act gives men and women the rights to the same level of treatment by health professionals and to attain the same positions as one another. This makes a more diverse workforce and in health & social care which is a diverse environment, this is a good thing.
Codes of Practice and Charters
Codes of practice are enforced by individual practices and Healthcare Centres, These are all similar in most respects but usually are specified to the practice itself. For example a Dentist and a Hospital for the mentally infirm will have different codes of practice due to the complete difference in patient, treatment and the overall healthcare plan. But this show’s just some of the benefits and uses of practice codes in healthcare as it allows room for maximum patient care. These codes of practice however generally address what is considered to be discrimination in the practice and what sanctions follow if any of these codes are broken. This helps to ensure that all employees are aware what discriminatory practice is and this allows no excuse when discriminatory practice is carried out by and employee.
Organisational Policies and procedures
Organisational policies and procedures affect various things in health & social care including positive promotion of individual rights, advocacy, staff development and training, complaints procedures, confidentiality.
Promoting individual rights
Individual rights cover a large range of rights and good organisational policies cover the protection of these against discrimination. People’s individual rights in the health and social system must be protected against any infringement on them e.g. their personal beliefs.
An advocate is someone who stand’s in the place of and speaks for someone who is not able to represent themselves, e.g. an advocate for a mental patient or a child. This person is responsible for said person and should only act in their best interests. Advocates promote anti discriminatory practice by giving a voice to those without one, stopping discrimination based on lack of social ability.
Staff development and training
It is essential that staff are trained properly in anti-discriminatory practice, this allows them to develop as professional’s with a duty to uphold the rights of individuals and to work against discrimination where seen.
Complaints procedures and confidentiality
Complaints procedures must be followed up quickly and efficiently as any possible discrimination must be investigated and also that complaints processed properly can make for improvements in the delivery of healthcare. Patient’s confidentiality must be kept at all times as any illness is private to whomever has it.
National initiatives are in place for a reason, practices are still working every day to promote anti-discriminatory practice, the idea to produce an equal, quality and efficient healthcare system that works for everyone is still not a complete reality but with more initiatives and good practice it could be.
Courtney from Study Moose
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