Department of Health and Social Care
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New council champions equality and diversity

New council champions equality and diversity

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 03 August 2009

Call for lay members to join the council
A new Equality and Diversity Council that will strengthen the national focus on improving quality in the National Health Service, was announced by the Department of Health today.

Its key role will be reporting on equality and diversity issues to the NHS Management Board, including championing improvement and campaigning for change.

Lay members are being asked to apply to join the council which will include representatives from patient groups, NHS staff, social care and voluntary organisations and the Council will be chaired by NHS Chief Executive, David Nicholson.

In line with the commitments in Lord Darzi’s review “High Quality Care for All” and the NHS Constitution, the Council will provide clear leadership on equality and diversity issues at the highest level.

The Council will be a sub committee of the NHS Management Board and will work alongside the National Leadership Council and the National Quality Board to:

- Set the framework to support and encourage NHS staff and organisations to work closely with the communities they serve in the delivery of personalised services;

- Ensure managers are encouraged to consider equality and diversity issues; and

- Champion the involvement of all in the innovation and good practice within the NHS.

The Council will be established in late summer and there will be an appointment process for lay members. The first Council meeting will take place in October.

Phil Hope, Minister with responsibility for equality and diversity said:

”The creation of the Equality and Diversity Council is an important step. It will have a vital role in championing and challenging the NHS to fulfil our shared ambition of high quality care for all. Its work will be critical to the innovation agenda both in terms of our workforce and the services we deliver.”

Lord Ouseley, Independent Crossbench Member of the House of Lords and former Chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality commented:

”I welcome the proposal to establish the Equality and Diversity Council. It has the potential, if it works effectively, to enable the NHS to focus coherently on the quality of, and access to, healthcare, which benefits all patients, service users and communities.”

NHS Chief Executive, David Nicholson, said:

“The NHS is on a journey of reform to be able to deliver personalised services that meet the needs of individual patients and local communities. The Council will play a really important role in supporting the NHS to work towards this goal .”

Sir Ian Carruthers, Chief Executive, NHS South West welcomed the proposals:

“The establishment of the council provides a clear leadership signal to the NHS about the importance of equality and diversity issues. This renewed profile is to be welcomed.”

Karen Jennings, Chair of the NHS Staff Council said:

”We warmly welcome the set up of the Council. In particular, we are pleased to see the delivery of services to patients and workforce issues brought together in one place. In this way we can think about the whole picture; demonstrate the integral link between all NHS staff and patients and the delivery of health care.”

Advertisements for Council lay members who can provide a wider perspective and challenge traditional thinking will appear in the national and trade press in early September.

Notes to Editors

For media enquiries, please call the Department of Health Media Centre on 020 7210 5221. Other enquiries should be addressed to or 0113 254 6451.The decision to establish an Equality and Diversity Council was taken at the NHS Management Board meeting on 13 May 2009.The Council will be a sub-committee of, and accountable to, the NHS Management Board.The Council framework has been put together after involvement with a range of stakeholders including DH Director Generals, senior NHS representatives, the NHS Confederation, patient representatives, the Appointments Commission, voluntary organisations and Trade Unions.The work of the Council will build on the good work which has already taken place across the NHS including many examples of local good practice and programmes such as Pacesetters and Race for Health

These are both DH funded programmes, which aim to improve access to health services by tailoring provision to the needs of and in conjunction with the local population.


Department of Health
Phone: 020 7210 5221

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