Our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion

At NHS Dorset, we are committed to commissioning (designing and buying) health services that respect and respond to the diversity of our local population.

We are equally committed to attracting and developing a diverse workforce that reflects the communities we serve.

We are committed to embedding equality and diversity values into our policies, procedures, employment practice and the commissioning processes that secure health and social care services.

We aim to provide equality and fairness for all, and not to discriminate on grounds of gender, gender identity, race, ethnic origin, colour, nationality, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, religion or age.

Our legal responsibilities are set out in the Equality Act 2010.

Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED)

Working with local communities


NHS Equality Delivery System

Our equality objectives

Equality Impact Assessments (EIA)

Workforce Equality Information

Gender pay gap

Contract monitoring

Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED)

  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct prohibited by the Equality Act 2010

  • Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it

  • Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it

Protected characteristics – in the context of the PSED – are defined as:

  • Age

  • Disability

  • Gender reassignment

  • Marriage and civil partnership

  • Pregnancy and maternity

  • Race

  • Religion and belief

  • Sex

  • Sexual orientation

Equality Act 2010 - Protective characteristics

Working with local communities

We are committed to ensuring that we reduce health inequalities and to keeping the needs of our communities at the heart of our commissioning role.

NHS Dorset takes seriously the particular needs that members of diverse communities or those with protected characteristics that use our services have. We believe, as is reflected in our planning and ethos, that healthcare provision on an equitable discrimination-free basis is the right of all in Dorset.

We are also committed to ensuring that we reduce health inequalities.

Health inequalities can mean reduced life span, greater vulnerability to colds and infection, living longer than required with physical impairments, etc. They can be caused by language barriers, mental health related communication issues and even fear of experiencing prejudice – such as homophobia and transphobia – as well as not having a good understanding of what NHS services are available and how to access them.

Our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy has at its heart a commitment to keeping the needs of our diverse communities at the centre of our commissioning role. This includes tackling as effectively as possible health inequalities by having appropriate actions to take in place.

Our mission, ‘Supporting people in Dorset to lead healthier lives’, means that we need to work with a range of communities and populations to support them in accessing and using local health services. We need to increase knowledge about healthcare needs to enable our communities to lead healthier lives.

We work closely with local people, patients, providers, staff and voluntary organisations to help reduce inequalities and eliminate any discrimination within our services and working environments.

NHS Dorset’s strategic approach for working with people and communities includes a section on working with people and communities to reduce health inequalities.

Our Dorset Public Engagement Group created a diagram to illustrate that service provision starts with local people.


Accessible communications

We want to make it as easy as possible for people to get involved in our work and find out more about local health services.

If you need information in an alternative format, such as easy read, large print, Braille, audio or an alternative language, please let us know by contacting the Communications and Engagement Team via feedback@nhsdorset.nhs.uk or call 01305 368900.

Accessible Information Standard

Since August 1 2016 onwards, all organisations that provide care or adult social care have been legally required to follow the Accessible Information Standard. ICBs are expected to give consideration to the duty and ensure their providers are meeting this standard. NHS Dorset monitors the process through contract monitoring.

The Standard aims to make sure that people who have a disability, impairment or sensory loss are provided with information that they can easily read and understand or have the support needed so they can communicate effectively with health and social care services.

Further information on the Standard can be found on the NHS England website.

NHS Equality Delivery System

We use the Equality Delivery System (EDS) and the NHS People Plan and Promise to ensure our work within NHS Dorset is fair and does not discriminate against any group.

The Equality Delivery System describes four goals for NHS organisations:

  • to achieve better health outcomes for all

  • to improve patient access and experience

  • to maintain a representative and supported workforce

  • to promote inclusive leadership

Download the Equality Delivery System assessment and completion 2022/23 (PDF) which provides a benchmark from which we will incorporate actions into our organisation and system-wide People Plans.

The NHS People plan and Our People Promise focuses on the following priorities:

NHS People Plan and Our People Promise infographic

NHS people plan pillars

  • Looking after our people

  • Belonging in the NHS

  • Growing for the future

  • New ways of working and delivering care

Our people promise

  • We are compassionate and inclusive

  • We are recognised and rewarded

  • We each have a voice that counts

  • We are safe and healthy

  • We are always learning

  • We work flexibly

  • We are a team

NHS Dorset strives to develop and deliver on our priorities to ensure that we achieve these four goals for everyone, which means in some cases carrying out additional work to do so. We regularly monitor our progress through the NHS Dorset Equality Diversity and Inclusion steering group and we produce an annual report which is shared publicly to show our progress.

NHS England’s website contains lots of information about the Equality Delivery System, including its purpose and an animated video.

Our equality objectives

Our objectives have been informed by our EDS grading exercise, insights from staff and stakeholders, our NHS Dorset People Plan and Dorset ICS People Plan, the South West Regional Leading for Inclusion Strategy, NHSEs High Impact Actions and our WRES and WDES metrics. They are aligned to the EDS goals and actions will be further developed with our Equity, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Steering Group. Terms of Reference – EEDI Steering Group.

The objectives and high level actions include:

Objective Example of high-level action’s already in discussion / progress
Our commissioned and provided services will meet the needs of our diverse population. • EDS 2022 – Commissioned services deep dive and associated action plan
• JFP cross cutting equality and health inequality priorities and action plans
• 5 urgent actions and CORE20PLUS5 health inequalities priorities
• Equality and Health Inequality Impact and Risk Assessments (EHIIRAs) are routinely and robustly utilised to improve outcomes and reduce inequalities
• Ensure decision making staff are confident in completing EHIIRAs through training
• Staff knowledge increase through EDI and cultural awareness training including the new ICS Induction• Develop a pool of ICS senior inclusion change agents to scale and spread a proven methodology linked to supporting the Five ICS transformation outcomes and shaping inclusive recruitment practices
• Review access to, collection and monitoring of data in engagement activities
• Ensure communication needs, including as set out in the Accessible Information Standard of our population are met
• Systems in place to ensure services are designed considering local health needsMeet requirements set out in Equality and Human Rights Commission letter relating to meeting the Public Sector Equality Duty
Our workforce will see improvements in health, well-being, and diverse representation. • High impact action 2: Embed fair and inclusive recruitment processes and talent management strategies that target under representation and lack of diversity

Read the ICS People Plan 2023

Read the NHS Dorset People Plan

• High impact action 3: Develop and implement an improvement plan to eliminate pay gaps
• High impact action 4: Develop and implement an improvement plan to address health inequalities in the workforce
• High impact action 5: Implement a comprehensive induction, onboarding, and development programme for internationally recruited staff
• High impact action 6: Create an environment that eliminates the conditions in which bullying, discrimination, harassment and physical violence at work occur
• Support the development of staff networks from protected characteristics and disadvantaged groups with system partners to strengthen the collective voice of the workforce
• Consider the WRES, WDES and Gender Pay Gap requirements and incorporate actions into the EDI plan
• Adopt the Southwest Leading for Inclusion strategy and incorporate wider actions into the EDI Plan
• Review actions and conduct further review of Domain 2 of the 2022/23 EDS 2022

Our leaders will demonstrate a clear and strong commitment to EDI in all they do. • Develop a pool of ICS senior inclusion change agents to scale and spread a proven methodology linked to supporting the Five ICS transformation outcomes and shaping inclusive recruitment practice
• High Impact 1: Chief Executives, chairs and board members must have specific and measurable EDI objectives to which they will be individually and collectively accountable
• Adopt and scale and spread across the system the Dorset County Hospital middle management development in Leading for Inclusion approach
• Adopt the Southwest Leading for Inclusion strategy and incorporate wider actions into the EDI Plan
• Review actions and conduct further assessment of Domain 3 of EDS 2022Ensure leadership and accountability for equality and health inequalities including access to appropriate training for all staff levels

Equality Impact Assessments (EIA)

Equality Impact Analysis (EIAs) are used to demonstrate that an organisation is giving due regard to equality, including consideration of the nine protected characteristics covered by the Equality Act 2010, when developing and implementing changes to strategy, policy and practice.

It is desirable and good practice to undertake an Equality Impact Assessment as part of our commitment to patients, staff and the public, to consider the impact that our policies, strategies or plans may have on our equality groups (protected characteristics).

NHS Dorset recognises that this is a continuous process and these assessments are updated to reflect the status of the programmes.

To ensure that EIAs are completed and the correct governance is followed we have undertaken the following:

  • Continue to provide training to staff on equality, diversity and inclusion and completion of EIAs

  • Simplified and refreshed the EIA template and guidance

  • Introduced an extra layer of check and challenge, with EIAs being reviewed by an external assessor to provide advice and guidance

We also include an extra layer of check and challenge, with EIAs reviewed by an external assessor. Our EIA Public Engagement Group lay advisor provides advice and guidance.

Workforce Equality Information

The NHS Equality and Diversity Council announced in July 2014 that it had agreed action to ensure employees from black and ethnic minority (BME) backgrounds have equal access to career opportunities and receive fair treatment in the workplace.

NHS Dorset will continue to publish local equality reports including WRES (Workforce Race Equality Standard) and WDES (Workforce Disability Equality Standard) on an annual basis and previous CCG reports can be accessed on request.

NHS Dorset has incorporated the actions identified from the WRES report into the overarching Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy action plan. Key actions already taken include:

  • To attract and retain a more diverse workforce within NHS Dorset

  • Establish support for BME staff within the organisation and link with local BME Staff Networks as a safe space to raise concerns

  • Ensuring job vacancies are widely publicised within our diverse community groups

  • Collaborating as an integrated care system to develop specific development programmes for our staff from black and minority ethnic backgrounds

More information

The Five Year Forward View sets out a direction of travel for the NHS – much of which depends on the health service embracing innovation, engaging and respecting staff, and drawing on the immense talent in our workforce.

We know that care is far more likely to meet the needs of all the patients we’re here to serve when NHS leadership is drawn from diverse communities across the country, and when all our frontline staff are themselves free from discrimination. These new mandatory standards will help NHS organisations to achieve these important goals.

Simon Stevens, Chief Executive, NHS England

The evidence is clear that treating all healthcare staff fairly and with respect is good for patient care. When black and minority ethnic staff, who make up a large minority of nurses, doctors and other NHS staff, are treated fairly it improves patient experience and patient safety. The Workforce Race Equality Standard encourages, and where necessary requires, all NHS providers to treat all black and minority ethnic staff fairly and ensure their full talents are used. It is good news for patients and for staff that NHS organisations have adopted this ground breaking evidence-based approach.

Roger Kline, Research Fellow, Middlesex University Business School

Gender pay gap

It is mandatory for organisations with 250 or more employees to report annually on their gender pay gap. The gender pay gap shows the difference in the average pay between all men and women in a workforce.

Contract monitoring

The NHS Standard Contract for Service Conditions SC13 and SC14 includes rules about equality that NHS service providers have to follow. This includes things like following the Public Sector Equality Duty, using EDS2, following the Workforce Race Equality Standard, and implementing the Accessible Information Standard. These requirements apply to all NHS-funded services.