To help health and social care services implement the new age discrimination provisions in the Equality Bill, the Government is calling for peoples' views on the likely implications.
The Equality Bill will ban age discrimination against adults in public services. This has particular implications for health and social care because age can be a factor in decisions about some treatments and services. The Health Secretary, Andy Burnham, has already signalled his support for implementing the new laws by 2012 - the same deadline as for other public services.
The consultation, launched yesterday, asks for comments on a Government-sponsored review of equality in the NHS and social care, which recommended that:
- health and social care services implement the Equality Bill by 2012;
- no areas within health and social care should have wholesale exemption from
- where possible, age as a criteria for assessing care provision should be
replaced by more pertinent and individualised evidence;
- local authorities should review their assessment procedures; &
- all professional regulatory organisations should review and, if necessary, revise their standards, codes of conduct and education programmes in line with the new legislation.
Phil Hope, Care Services Minister, said:
"The Government is determined to stamp out age discrimination. There can be no excuses but we must properly consider the unique challenges this presents for health and social care services. The views of the respondents to this consultation will be vital to help us ensure that the ban on age discrimination improves services for everyone."
The consultation will close on 15th February 2010. Responses can be made on the Department of Health website.