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Age Equality in Health and Social Care

Volume 497: debated on Thursday 22 October 2009

In April 2009, the Secretary of State for Health asked Sir Ian Carruthers, Chief Executive of NHS South West, and Jan Ormondroyd, Chief Executive of Bristol City Council, to undertake a review of age discrimination and age equality in the health and social care sector, as announced in a written statement on 27 April 2009, Official Report, column 35ws.

The review was asked to consider what health and social care organisations should do to meet the age provisions of the Equality Bill, currently before Parliament. The Bill outlaws age discrimination against people aged 18 and over by those providing services and exercising public functions. The Bill also creates a new public sector equality duty which applies in relation to age as well as to seven other protected characteristics.

The review was supported by the National Advisory Group on Age Discrimination, chaired by John Dixon, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Social Services at West Sussex County Council. The review has undertaken a comprehensive engagement process in the South West with local authorities, the NHS, public groups and third sector organisations focusing on the practical implementation of the Bill.

The review’s leaders published their report, Achieving “Age Equality in Health and Social Care”—a report to the Secretary of State for Health on 22 October 2009. The report sets out the review’s recommendations and conclusions on what actions health and social care organisations need to take to tackle age discrimination and advance age equality. It includes a recommendation to implement the Equality Bill’s age discrimination ban in health and social care at the same time as in other sectors.

The Government are minded to accept the review’s recommendation on the timing of implementation. The Department intends to consult on its response to the report in December of this year. This will take place in parallel with the further development of a resource pack designed to support implementation.

The report has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses and copies are available to hon. Members from the Vote Office.