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Equality Bill: Age Discrimination in Health and Social Care

Volume 710: debated on Monday 27 April 2009

Statement

My honourable friend the Minister of State, Department of Health (Phil Hope), has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The Government are today publishing the Equality Bill. The Bill outlaws unjustifiable age discrimination against people aged 18 and over by those providing services and exercising public functions. Secondary legislation under the Bill will allow conduct that does not contravene the ban to be specified and the ban can be brought into force at different times in different sectors.

To support delivery of the Equality Bill’s age provisions in health and social care, my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Health (Alan Johnson) has asked Sir Ian Carruthers, chief executive of the South West Strategic Health Authority, and Jan Ormondroyd, chief executive of Bristol City Council, to lead a national review from the south-west region. The review will provide the Secretary of State with advice and recommendations in the form of a published report in October 2009, which will set out what it will mean in practice to implement the ban in health and adult social care and what actions need to be taken. In the light of these recommendations and the Government’s desire to implement the ban as soon as practicable, the review will set the date(s) from which the provisions relating to age in health and social care should commence.

A national joint implementation unit will also be hosted by the south-west region.

The review will work in a transparent and collaborative manner, drawing on the expertise of a wide range of stakeholders including third-sector organisations.

The Secretary of State has also asked Sir Ian and John Dixon, immediate past president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, jointly to chair the Department of Health Advisory Group on Age Discrimination, which was announced in a Written Statement on 11 November 2008. The group will support the review.

The review will support the Government’s broader aspiration to deliver high-quality care for all, including by means of more personalised, age-appropriate services.