The NHS belongs to the people. It is there to improve our health and well-being, supporting us to keep mentally and physically well, to get better when we are ill and, when we cannot fully recover, to stay as well as we can to the end of our lives. It works at the limits of science – bringing the highest levels of human knowledge and skill to save lives and improve health. It touches our lives at times of basic human need, when care and compassion are what matter most.
The NHS Equality and Diversity Council (EDC) works to bring people and organisations together to realise a vision for a personal, fair and diverse health and care system, where everyone counts and the values of the NHS Constitution are brought to life.
Our ambition is to shape the future of the NHS from an equality, health inequalities and human rights perspective, and to improve health outcomes and quality of care for all who use and deliver health and care services.
We do this by establishing and sharing a clear evidence base to understand and address key and emerging issues, by strengthening opportunities for the EDC and its networks to participate in challenging and strategic conversations and influence change, and by raising awareness of the personal, fair and diverse vision among patients, the public and staff.
A key part of our role is to create and lead strategic discussions that will:
- Improve understanding of how people’s differences, cultural expectations and social status can affect their experiences, health outcomes and quality of care
- Inspire organisations to go far beyond the legal duties required by the Equality Act 2010
- Create health and care services and workplaces that are truly personal, fair and diverse for everyone.
The EDC is chaired by Sir David Nicholson, Chief Executive, NHS England. The Council is hosted by NHS England on behalf of the health and care system in England, which includes the NHS and our work with partners in social care. Our priority areas include equality and diversity, health inequalities and human rights.
Our work is underpinned by the values of the NHS Constitution.
To create a health and care system that is personal, fair and diverse.
To bring to life the values of the NHS.
A new way of working
The EDC was set-up in 2009 as a sub-committee of the NHS Management Board to support the implementation of the Equality Act 2010 and to raise the profile of equality and diversity in the NHS. The Council brought together leaders in the fields of healthcare and equality and diversity and developed the vision for a personal, fair and diverse NHS.
A number of key projects were initiated including:
- The Equality Delivery System; a toolkit to improve equality performance that has been widely implemented across the NHS and is being used by both providers and commissioners of services.
- The Personal, Fair and Diverse Champions campaign; a vibrant staff network led by NHS employers that is committed to making change happen.
- The development of a strong communications strategy to keep the profile of equality issues high within the healthcare service. This includes providing guidance and informing the NHS of its legal duties and obligations to ensure that equality is built into the fabric of the NHS.
Following the Health and Social Care Act 2012, the EDC has introduced new, more inclusive ways of working that will continue to build on these achievements, while supporting healthcare services to tackle health inequalities and advance equality and human rights in the new NHS landscape.
The first NHS Values Summit was held in Leeds on 28 November 2012, signalling the start of this new approach. Designed to build on our collective strengths at a time when the benefits of working collaboratively with patients, staff and communities are increasingly valued and recognised, the event provides a template for future NHS Values Summits to be held twice a year in different cities across the country.
A personal, fair and diverse health and care system
The Equality Delivery System
Work of the EDC
Are you listening?