Concern has been expressed that nurses who are disabled or from ethnic minorities could face discrimination after a report claimed most NHS bodies treated duties to reduce inequalities as a “box ticking exercise”.
A report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission rated the performance of NHS bodies against their legal duties on race, disability and gender equality, which came into force in April.
Of the 19 primary care trusts and nine strategic health authorities examined, none “was likely to be fully performing” their duties, and “most were likely to have significant failings in performance”.
It said performing the duties was “regarded by the majority of authorities and trusts as a ‘box ticking’ exercise and only rarely encompassed the achievement of equality outcomes in practice”.
Royal College of Nursing England Director Tom Sandford told Nursing Times that tighter finances meant “vulnerable people in the nursing workforce are going to be more at risk”.
Mr Sandford voiced fear that staff with disabilities could be “disproportionately” hit by job losses.