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 Race Equality Standards (WRES)

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.

Find out more about how we work with local voluntary organisations on our Get Involved pages.


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. CCGs 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 EDS2 grading exercise, insights from staff and stakeholders, the NHS People plan and Our People Promise and review of our previous objectives and current priorities. They are aligned to the EDS2 goals and have been developed with and our supported by our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Steering Group.

EDS2 Goal Objectives
Better health outcomes for all To ensure demographic information is collected, collated and analysed therefore enabling a better understanding of the needs of access to services, outcomes and experience.
Improved patient access and experience Engage with our diverse communities ensuring their needs are taken into account when co-producing, designing and commissioning services.
Empowered, engaged and included staff Support and develop our workforce to maximise their potential through the promotion of equality of opportunity, in an environment free from bullying and harassment.
Inclusive leadership at all levels To ensure that equality, diversity and inclusion is everybody’s business across the CCG.

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 Race Equality Standard (WRES)

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 WRES reports 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

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.

Gender Pay Gap Report

Contract monitoring

The 2018/19 NHS Standard Contract sets out equality related requirements which NHS providers must comply with, including compliance with the Public Sector Equality Duty, implementing EDS2 and the Workforce Race Equality Standard and the implementation of the Accessible Information Standard.

NHS Dorset continues to work in partnership with its main NHS providers to ensure compliance with their contractual obligations, through quality review meetings with providers.