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Discrimination is when someone is treated less favourably than someone else because of a personal characteristic, known as a ‘protected characteristic’.

The Equality Act 2010 offers protection to the following nine protected characteristics; age, disability (this also includes disability by association), gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race (including ethnic or national origins, colour or nationality, religion or belief (including lack of belief), sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership.

Respect and dignity

The Act covers four types of discrimination, these are as follows:

  • Direct discrimination
  • Indirect discrimination
  • Harassment
  • Victimisation

We are committed to delivering requirements in line with the Equality Act, eliminating any unlawful discrimination and ensuring that values relating to equality, human rights and inclusion are central to our policymaking, service delivery, employment practices and community involvement.

The NHS Constitution

The NHS is founded on a common set of principles and values that bind together the communities and people it serves – patients and public – and the staff who work for it.

The NHS Constitution establishes the principles and values of the NHS in England. It sets out rights to which patients, public and staff are entitled, and pledges which the NHS is committed to achieve, together with responsibilities, which the public, patients and staff owe to one another to ensure that the NHS operates fairly and effectively. The Secretary of State for Health, all NHS bodies, private and voluntary sector providers supplying NHS services, and local authorities in the exercise of their public health functions are required by law to take account of this Constitution in their decisions and actions. References in this document to the NHS and NHS services include local authority public health services, but references to NHS bodies do not include local authorities. Where there are differences of detail these are explained in the Handbook to the Constitution.

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