In the UK we have a variety of legislative responsibilities that directly impact upon discrimination and equality within the health environment. Three primary pieces of legislation have the most influence, namely, the Equality Act (EA), the Regulatory Reform Order (RRO), the Human Rights Act (HR) and to a limited degree, the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act (SENDA).
The Equality Act requires reasonable measures, has an anticipatory duty and for health buildings there are additional public sector duties. It provides protection for staff, patients, visitors and third party users. The legislative responsibilities are based upon a number of factors, including the ability to pay, reasonableness and the obligations of the public sector duty. In practice, this means one needs to give due regard to:
- eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation
- advance equality of opportunity
- and foster good relations.
This requires equality in service to the extent that a disabled person may need to be treated more favourably. There is also a requirement to review any policy in order to demonstrate due regard to the aims of the Equality Act.
Health buildings can be large and complex spaces. There is a variety of guidance available to advise any planned design or alterations of facilities. At JSA we are familiar with the complexities of health buildings; understand the guidance available, both generic and health specific and their relationship to users, functions and safety. We can assist you through the process of ensuring that you meet the expectations of patients, staff and visitors, anticipated obligations of the legislation, within site limitations and budget constraints