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NHS: Race and Equality

Volume 716: debated on Wednesday 27 January 2010

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Equality and Human Rights Commission or its predecessor bodies in recent years initiated investigations into alleged or actual discriminatory activities by the National Health Service; if so, when those investigations commenced; when any were discontinued; and why. [HL1004]

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has initiated investigations into the NHS for breaches of the equality duties. The commission’s predecessor bodies, the Commission for Racial Equality and the Disability Rights Commission, had published investigations into the Department of Health shortly before their closure regarding compliance with the race equality duty and fitness standards, respectively. With regards to the fitness standards, some follow-up work was undertaken by the EHRC.

The commission had decided initially to undertake a formal assessment under Section 31 of the Equality Act 2006 of the Department of Health’s compliance with the public sector duties, but has since held discussions with the department about reaching an agreement on this matter, the details of which are still under negotiation.

As for cases that have been discontinued, the commission is prevented from disclosing information on reasons why they were discontinued under Section 6 of the Equality Act 2006.