Sir David Nicholson announces refresh of NHS equality toolkit

Today (4 November) at the London NHS Values Summit, NHS England Chief Executive, Sir David Nicholson, announced a refresh of a toolkit designed to ensure NHS organisations follow best practice in delivering services that are free of discrimination and meet the requirements of the Equality Act 2010.

Sir David announced the refresh of the Equality Delivery System (EDS) called ‘ESD2’ – which is designed to be more streamlined and simpler to use compared with the original EDS. It is aligned to NHS England’s commitment to an inclusive NHS that is fair and accessible to all.

The original EDS was commissioned by the NHS Equality and Diversity Council in 2010, and launched in 2011. It was developed to help NHS organisations to continuously improve the services they provide for their local communities and provide better working environments, free of discrimination, for those who work in the NHS, while helping to meet the requirements of the Equality Act 2010.

When introducing the original EDS in 2011, Sir David said “Inequalities of access, care and outcome still exist, and there are instances when people are not being treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve. By recognising that every patient has different needs and circumstances, we can best meet those needs and improve outcomes by delivering a personal form of care, using and supporting the diverse talents and experiences of our workforce. The EDS is a toolkit to help all staff and NHS organisations understand how equality can drive improvements, strengthen the accountability of services to those using them, and bring about workplaces free from discrimination”.

Sir David today added: “Building on the success and insight of ESD, I am pleased to introduce a refreshed and streamlined EDS – called EDS2. It retains much of the original design, but it encourages local adaptation with a focus on local issues and problems. It also prompts learning from, and the spreading of, good practice. As before, EDS2 relies on genuine local engagement with patients, the public and other local stakeholders.

“I encourage NHS organisations to use EDS2 to make the difference that our patients, the public and the workforce need and deserve.”

The EDS was developed by the NHS, for the NHS, taking inspiration from good practice across the healthcare system. The refresh follows and an independent evaluation on the implementation of the EDS during that first year and further engagement with the NHS and key stakeholders.

Dr Paula Vasco-Knight, National Equality Lead at NHS England said:

“We recognise that every patient has distinct needs and circumstances and that we can meet those needs and improve outcomes by delivering a personal form of care – using the diverse talent of our workforce. The refreshed EDS – EDS2 is a toolkit to help NHS organisations understand how equality can drive improvements for patients, communities and the workforce – making the positive difference that they need and deserve.”

“We are also refreshing the NHS Equality and Diversity Council (EDC) and are committed to having the involvement and contribution from a range of perspectives in strategic discussions and work to tackle health inequalities, promote equality and improve the experiences, health outcomes and quality of care for all who use and deliver health and care services.”

The EDS2 toolkit and a Q&A is available on the NHS England website at: