26 / 01 / 2009
NHS North West
Halton and St Helens Primary Care Trust (PCT) looks after the health of around 300,000 people. The PCT employs around 2,000 people, many of whom are frontline staff providing services directly to local people.
The PCT has used its Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA) process improve services for those suffering a terminal illness and the homeless. :
The PCT provides palliative care to the population of Halton and St Helens Boroughs. The service offers support, education, advice and guidance to patients who suffer from a life limiting illness and who are in the palliative care stage of their disease. The service also provides the same level of support to those caring for these patients.
The trust's EqIA identified that there was a potential for gender discrimination because male patients are not given the choice of having a male or female nurse attend to them. This had a potential to impact upon their dignity during the palliative care stage of their disease.
Health and the homeless
The Borough has a number of homeless people. This group traditionally has an increased incidence of ill health and health inequalities than other groups.
The trust's Health and the Homeless Team aims to give this client group better access to mainstream services and in turn, healthier living. This service includes access to a monthly dental appointment during a free meal event. The EqIA identified that this service had the potential to discriminate against homeless people with a physical disability because it took place on the second floor of a building.
The PCT followed a seven step process as part of its EqIA:
Step 1 - identifying the number of different services within the PCT
Step 2 - asking departmental heads to nominate someone to support the service managers in impact assessing all of their policies, procedures and functions
Step 3 - meeting the departmental EqIA leads, to help them carry out their assessment. Leads were advised to bring any monitoring information, to show equality of uptake, and to identify any potential areas of discrimination that needed further clarification
Step 4 - meeting the departmental leads to familiarise them with the EqIA process. This included clarifying each of the steps within the impact assessment process and examples of the type of discrimination that could potentially occur
Step 5 - leads completing the EqIA process, covering all the diversity strands, and giving them both the skills and a worked example to support discussion with colleagues. A part of this process, leads also noted areas of good practice
Step 6 - sending the completed EqIAs to the equality and diversity lead for publishing on both the PCT's intranet and website
Step 7 - Submitting action plans to the Equality and Diversity Sub Committee for monitoring purposes.
The trust adopted a number of balancing measures to address the potential discrimination against male service users, to encourage the recruitment of more male nurses including:
targeting recruitment materials at potential male employees eg. using images of male nurses on posters
including an equality statement in recruitment material that clearly states that the trust welcomes applications from male nurses
giving a guaranteed interview for male applicants that meet the essential job criteria
Health and the homeless
Following the EqIA that identified potential access issues for those with disabilities, the service manager liaised with both the dental service and the estates department to source an alternative venue that had good disabled access.
Contact details and further information
Carl Dixon, Equality and Diversity Lead, Halton and St Helens PCT firstname.lastname@example.org