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Age Discrimination

Volume 404: debated on Wednesday 30 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to address the issue of age discrimination. [109445]

The Department of Health is committed to transforming the health and social care system so that it produces faster, fairer services that deliver better health and tackle inequalities. For example, we have established a young people's reference group as part of the Quality Protects Programme so that we can hear the contemporary views of young people as we develop policy affecting them. In March 2001 we published a national service framework (NSF) for older people, which sets as a priority the elimination of age discrimination in access to, and quality of, health and social care services offered to older people. The NSF provides a programme of actions and milestones to be achieved over the next 10 years.On age discrimination in employment, age has been integrated into equal opportunities policies for Department of Health staff. The Department has taken action to tackle negative attitudes towards older staff through training on valuing diversity being rolled out to all staff and through the monitoring of recruitment, selection and appraisal statistics. The Department is discussing the recommendations of the Cabinet Office document "Winning the Generation Game" with the relevant trade unions.The NHS Plan, published in July 2000, makes clear that every member of staff in the National Health Service is entitled to work in an organisation which can prove that it is investing in improving diversity and tackling discrimination and harassment.The Department is considering the age issues in the European Employment Directive 2000/78/EC and is working to ensure that the Department and NHS employers will comply with the new legislation on age discrimination in employment and vocational training when it comes into force in 2006.