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Equality and the Department of Health Consultation on Red Tape

By Hári Sewell

Posted: Friday September 2 2011

The Government has published a consultation on cutting bureacracy in the NHS by reducing by 25% the number of data returns to be made.  The attendant document, the Assessment of Impact on Equality suggests that there is no positive or detrimental impact on equality. 

The Department of Health has published a consultation on reducing bureaucracy by cutting the number of data returns that the NHS needs to make.  This is a sound objective given the efficiency programmes or cuts underway.  As required the Department has undertaken and issued an assessment of impact on equality as an annex.  This annex states that there is no impact on equality neither negative or positive.  However, the list of data returns to be cut includes the Count Me In Census of Inpatients in England and Wales (Mental Health and Learning Disability).  Well given that that mental health is considered to be a disability under legislation and the census covers disability there will obviously be an impact on equality as defined in the Equality Act 2010.  Further there are specific groups whose experience of inpatient services continues to be of grave concerns and the end of reporting in the level of detail will have an impact.  Significant amongst these groups are people from Black African and Caribbean backgrounds.  It is worth noting also that the Count Me in Census was one of the few occasions where services had to ask about people’s sexuality.  This swerve off course tales place just as progress was being made for staff to realise that “sexuality is more about what goes on between their ears than between their legs”.  The “Equality Assessment” needs to be reconsidered.  Those responding to the main consultation should also make comment on this document.

 

The main consultation document and the annexes may be found here


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