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Equality, Diversity and Inclusion – People at the heart

2 October 2017

Vic Rayner
Executive Director
National Care Forum

In recent times there has been a growing focus on how the care sector addresses issues associated with equality, diversity and human rights. The welcome focus on this agenda is coming from a range of quarters, and I want to highlight a couple of recent examples. Of particular importance has been the launch of the Dementia Action Alliance’s findings from their Seldom Heard Voices campaign. This crucial work has been looking at the diversity of support requirements of people living with dementia who are part of specific communities whose needs are not sufficiently recognised or addressed. The launch included the research findings from the three specific groups, taking the campaign voice from ‘Seldom Heard’ to ‘Seen and Heard’. There are a series of recommendations to support detailed work with prisoners with dementia, learning disabilities and dementia and dementia and the LGBT+ community. In each of action based documents there will be steps that are possible for all providers to take now to improve the experience of those needing care and support from these less well heard communities. The full set of reports and recommendations can be found here

The CQC have also turned a recent spotlight on the role of equality in the provision of outstanding services. Their recent good practice guidance Equally Outstanding: Equality and Human Rights good practice resource’ provides key case studies, research recommendations and examples of best practice to support service transformation. To this end, I was particularly pleased to see that one of NCF’s members, Royal Star and Garter, not only received an Outstanding Rating, but were also particularly noted for their inclusive approach to supporting members of the LGBT community. The CQC resources also directs members back to some of the excellent resources produced by the British Institute of Human Rights, and in particular their detailed work on Human Rights in frontline health and care settings.

The use of language in all of these documents is interesting, and I was reminded of this last week at an international conference on ageing run by the Global Ageing Network. At this event, the language of inclusivity was presented as a response to some of the more litigious, ‘correctness’ agenda seen to dominate the words and approaches of diversity. Approaches which focus more on what unites us than divide us were graphically illustrated by the use of some excellent clips including this Danish film All that we share’ which in 3 minutes seeks to show how to unite and how to celebrate difference – if you have a spare few minutes – do take a look . I was very much reminded of the important work by Helen Sanderson around One Page Profiles, and how this celebrates sharing and identifying connections.

It is interesting that whatever the language adopted within these documents, the central message of all is clear, that for services to be truly person centred, ways of working must promote at every opportunity an understanding and appreciation of the whole person – making everyone both Seen and Heard. 

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