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Equality and Diversity

Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust is committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for our patients, staff and visitors. The values of our organisation include clear recognition of the importance of respecting and recognising each other as individuals. Our aim is to promote good relations meeting the needs of our patient’s service users, staff and visitors in the very best way, whilst celebrating the very positive benefits to be gained from being part of a diverse community.

Unfortunately we recognise that particular groups in society may experience prejudice and disadvantage and it is all our responsibilities to work to prevent this. Like other public bodies, we have a legal duty to promote equality and eliminate discrimination. We are also required to foster positive relationships between different groups of people, eliminate harassment, and involve people in decisions regarding their health, social care and their access to services.

This page provides information about how we are working towards achieving these requirements.

The Law

The Equality Act, which came in to force in October 2010, brings together over 116 separate pieces of legislation which provides a legal framework to protect the rights of individuals and advance equality of opportunity for all.

The Equality Act 2010 simplifies, strengthens and harmonises the old legislation to provide Britain with a new discrimination law which protects individuals from unfair treatment and promotes a fair and more equal society.

The nine main pieces of legislation that have merged are:

  • The Equal Pay Act 1970
  • The Sex Discrimination Act 1975
  • The Race Relations Act 1976
  • The Disability Discrimination Act 1995
  • The Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003
  • The Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003
  • The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006
  • The Equality Act 2006, Part 2
  • The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007

The Equality Act outlaws direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation of people with relevant protected characteristics in relevant circumstances. It requires that reasonable adjustments be made for disabled people. The Act applies to providers of services and employers, including NHS bodies and other health providers.

The nine characteristics that are protected by the Act are:

  • Age including specific ages and age groups
  • Disability including cancer, HIV, multiple sclerosis, and physical or mental impairment where the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on the ability to carry out day-to-day activities
  • Gender re-assignment where people are proposing to undergo, are undergoing or have undergone a process (or part of a process) for the purpose of reassigning the person’s sex by changing physiological or other attribute of sex
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race including colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins
  • Religion or belief, including a lack of religion or belief, and where belief includes any religious or philosophical belief
  • Sex (Gender)
  • Sexual orientation, meaning a person’s sexual orientation towards persons of the same sex, persons of the opposite sex and persons of either sex.

Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED)

A Public Sector Equality Duty, section 149(1) of the Act, applies to most public authorities (and bodies exercising public functions) requiring them in the exercise of their functions to have due regard to the need to:

  • Eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited under the Act
  • Advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it
  • Foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it

The Equality Act 2010 (Specific duties) Regulations 2011 were expected to be decided and come into force in September 2011. The regulations would require relevant bodies to:

  • Publish information to demonstrate its compliance with the public sector Equality Duty at least annually, starting by 31 January 2012
  • Prepare and publish equality objectives at least every four years starting by 6 April 2012. All such objectives must be specific and measurable.


The Trust has produced a Workforce Equality and Diversity Annual Report and a Patient Equality and Diversity Annual Report to demonstrate our compliance with the public sector equality duty:

Under the Equality Act 2012 (Specific Duties and Public Authorities) Regulations 2017 it is mandatory for public sector organisations with over 250 employees to report annually on the gender pay gap.

Equality and Diversity Objectives

Equality and Diversity Action Plan

Our Equality and Diversity Action Plan is updated from the key objectives in the Scheme and impacts from all Equality Impact Assessments which are continually taking place across the Trust.

Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan

Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Group

Performance is monitored via the Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Group who report directly to the Trust Board of Directors. The Group meets every three months to review and report progress on the Trust's Equality and Diversity Action plan. The Chair of the Trust Board of Directors is an active member of the Group and champions diversity throughout the Trust.

NHS Workforce Disability Equality Standard

The Workforce Disability Equality Standard (WDES) has been commissioned by the Equality and Diversity Council (EDC) and developed through a pilot and extensive engagement with NHS Trusts and key stakeholders. It is mandated through the NHS Standard Contract and is restricted to NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts for the first two years of implementation.

The WDES is a set of ten specific measures (metrics) that will enable NHS organisations to compare the experiences of disabled and non-disabled staff.

The Trust will use the metrics data which has been gathered from the NHS Staff Survey findings and our own local data to produce and develop a local action plan and enable us to demonstrate progress against the indicators of disability equality.

NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard

On 1st April 2015, NHS England launched the Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) to tackle barriers that Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) staff may face in the workplace. The Standard aims to ensure that employees from BME backgrounds have equal access to career opportunities and receive fair treatment in the workplace.

NHS England note that the move follows recent reports which have highlighted disparities in the number of BME people in senior leadership positions across the NHS, as well as lower levels of wellbeing amongst the BME population.

The WRES has nine indicators split into three focus areas: three workforce metrics; five NHS Staff Survey findings; and one relating to Board representation. The results of the 2014/15 Standard are attached below. A formal action plan to address the issues raised therein will follow in due course.

Equality Impact Assessments

The Trust is committed to ensuring all services, policies, projects and strategies have an equality impact assessment. All papers submitted to the Trust's Board of Directors have a Trust Board Summary Report which details equality & diversity implications. We reviewed, updated and re-launched our Equality Impact Assessments Procedure in November 2009 with a programme of training for all service managers. Between November 2009 and March 2010 we carried out 50 impact assessments across the Trust. There was no illegal discrimination reported in any of the impact assessments and where impact assessments reported negative impacts these centre around accessibility, training and awareness. Action points covering these areas have been incorporated within the Equality and Diversity Action Plan and reported to the Trust's Board of Directors.

See examples of our Equality Impact Assessments.

Disability Awareness and Action Group

The Trust's commitment to eliminating disability discrimination takes its foundation from the key requirements of the Equality Act 2010.

For a number of years the Trust has had a Disability Awareness and Action Group. It meets four times a year to discuss how to improve the Trust services, accessibility and information distributed to patients, potential employees and carers/relatives.

The Trust has a very active Disability Awareness and Action Group. It meets four times a year to discuss how to improve the Trust services, accessibility and information distributed to patients, potential employees and carers/relatives.

Religion and Belief

The Equality Act 2010 outlaws discrimination in employment and vocational training on the grounds of religion or belief. The regulations apply to discrimination on grounds of religion, religious belief or similar philosophical belief.

Our Chaplaincy and Pastoral care service supports patients of all faiths, or none, and offers a number of services including giving time and space to you to talk through your feelings, concerns or plans for the future, in confidence and safety. Having someone to act as a sounding board can help you to find new insights and ways of coping.

We have a dedicated chaplaincy team comprising of Anglican, Methodist and Lay volunteers. The Chaplaincy Team is available to patients, and their friends and relatives, regardless of faith, race, culture, gender or sexual orientation. The team has close links with other faith leaders and is able to ensure that patients, visitors and staff have access to leaders from their own faiths.

The hospital has its own Chapel and also a quiet room. The room is open to people of all faiths or non-belief and provides a peaceful environment in which individuals can pray or contemplate in their own way.

The Chapel is open at all times. It is situated on Level 4 in Zone B. Holy Communion is taken to wards for those not well enough to attend Chapel. A service of Holy Communion is held in the chapel each Sunday morning and there is a varied programme of 'Special' Services throughout the year.

Members of the Chaplaincy Team visit the wards several times each week and offer a befriending service. There is always someone available to come and pray with patients if this would be helpful.

Equality, Diversity and Human Rights-events and actions

Mandatory Equality and Diversity Awareness Training

The Trust has re launched its mandatory equality and diversity awareness training and this has been very positively received with some very good feedback from staff.

Induction Training

To ensure that all members of staff our aware of our policies and commitment to Equality, Diversity and Human Rights we have reviewed and updated our Equality and Diversity Induction presentation and ensure that every new member of staff attends.

Diversity champions within each division/directorate

We are currently working on ensuring there is a diversity champion within each division/directorate within the Trust. We are in the process of developing an Equality and Diversity Champions Guide

Appraisal/Performance Review and Knowledge and Skills Framework

Equality & Diversity is one of the core dimensions of the Knowledge and Skills Framework and as such form part of the Knowledge and Skills Framework outline for all staff. All staff must achieve the correct standard for their job in all of the dimensions. We are committed to ensuring that every member of staff has an appraisal/performance review and as part of this process each member of staff will have an objective regarding equality and diversity.