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National Health Service in the UK – Research Guider

The paper 'National Health Service in the UK' is an outstanding example of a research paper on health science and medicine.
Discriminations have been present in our society and done against persons in many circumstances.  One of these is discrimination intentionally or unintentionally done in providing health service to people.  The concern of this study is the discrimination done to elders and to the sexual orientation of patients in NHS Trust Hospital.  This study will find out if there are anti-discrimination policies and practices done by the NHS to discourage discrimination practices.

This study is done in three parts. The first part describes the NHS and the NHS Trust Hospital.  Second, it defines discrimination and complaints.  The third is the review of the anti-discriminatory policies developed by the NHS, and finally, arrive at a comment on these policies.

 Brief description of the National Health Service and the Trust Hospital. 

The National Health Service (NHS) is a health care system funded by taxpayers in Europe.  It employs 1.3 million people, making it the 4th largest employer in the world.  Its current budget for the year 2006-2007 is €96 billion.
In 1990,  under the National Health Services and Community Care Act, the NHS ceased to operate own hospitals but transferred the responsibility of health care to their authorized providers and hospitals.   These providers become part of the NHS as independent trusts.

The East Sussex NHS TRUST 

The East Sussex NHS Trust is classified as an “acute hospital serving residents of the place, tourists and those coming from nearby counties.  The East Sussex NHS Trust provides general health care from its two general hospital hospitals, the Conquest Hospital and Eastbound District General Hospital. 

 An acute hospital is one that provides short term medical treatments for patients having an acute illness or injury or recovering from surgery.                                                                                       
Discrimination, types, and complaints
What is discrimination   This term is defined as “treatment or consideration of or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit, racial and religious intolerance and discrimination”.(Commonwealth Times)2  Discriminatory acts committed against the categories listed below are considered unlawful and against the Equal Opportunities Act of 1955 (VEHRC).


     Table 1.  Types of Discrimination

age

breastfeeding

Religious belief or activity

Sex

Sexual orientation

Personal association

Career status

Disability/impairment

Employment activity

Gender identity

Industrial activity

Lawful sexual activity

Marital status

Parental status

Physical features

Political belief or activity

Age discrimination has been described in the Medical Dictionary as “an attitude that discriminates, separates, stigmatizes or otherwise disadvantages older adults on the basis of chronological age.”(Medical dictionary)  When one gets old, oftentimes, an elder is discriminated against on many opportunities, and being prejudiced to cases of Ageism.  This term is the biased belief that depression, forgetfulness, and other disorders are part of growing old and do not have to benefit from medical treatment. (Medical Dictionary)

Sexual orientation and lawful sexual activity

The Medical dictionary described sexual orientation as “The direction of one's sexual interest toward members of the same, opposite, or both sexes, especially a direction seen to be dictated by physiologic rather than sociologic forces. (Medical Dictionary).  According to the Equal Opportunity Act, a person whether heterosexual, homosexual, lesbian or bisexual has the same rights, and it is against the law for someone to discriminate against them because of sexual orientation.

Complaints about age and sexual orientation discrimination on NHS. 

There are many complaints about the discriminations of NHS, but I will focus only on two issues here:

Age-related complaints.

Elderly 'failed by NHS complaints system' 

 More than 8000 elders have complained about discrimination on their health care treatment from the NHS.  This was the subject of the report of the BBC News (November 30, 2000), which showed a high proportion of hospital patients are elderly.  This news carried out the result of the research done by Charity Age Concern that older people are intimated by the NHS complaints procedure and fear that they will be called as troublemakers. When they complain, the report said, elders are faced with long years of waiting before their problems are dealt with.  Oftentimes, they are discouraged by the staff in filing a complaint. (BBC News, 2000)

Sexual orientation complaint

BBC reports (June 20, 2004) that even doctors are subjected to discrimination in the NHS.  This news based their report on the interviews conducted among 25 doctors in the NHS composed of -- six from ethnic minorities, four women, seven with disabilities and eight who are gay, lesbian or bisexual.  The findings, among others, said that the eight doctors with sexual preferences are discriminated against by their fellow workers who made jokes about them and also about gay patients. In many cases, they find it a barrier for their career opportunities in the NHS (BBC News, June 2004)

Anti-discriminatory policies and practices at the NHS.

The government is trying to stamp out discrimination in the NHS Source: ROSE NHS

 

 

 

According to ROSE NHS, they always strive to give everybody equal opportunity at the workplace and in their health care.  They said that they adhere strictly to the laws against discrimination. Their employees are likewise advised to do their duties in ensuring the health and safety of workers, including protection from harassment and bullying from patients and co-workers.

If there is who anyone experiences harassment, ROSE NHS suggests that the matter be immediately brought to the Trade Union Representative or to the Equality and Human Rights Commission to find out the proper legislation pertaining to the complaint.

Pursuant to age and sex-orientation discrimination complaints, certain laws have been legislated to prohibit discrimination.  The Sex Discrimination Act of 1975 and the Gender Equality Law of 2007 seeks to give equal opportunities to employees with sex orientation personalities.

The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006

Discriminating people because of age requirement in employment becomes unlawful under the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations of October 2006.  This law also declares unfavorable treatment to someone because of age without justification, victimization, and harassment. http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/yourrights/equality

Findings and conclusion.

There no latest available data on complaints and criticisms to validate the effectiveness of the Equality and Human Rights Commission which was created in 2007.  The policies of this Commission is well entrenched in the legislative acts of the government, which is to protect everyone against discrimination of all sorts.

Further study is recommended to see how well are the cases brought to the Commission are acted upon.



References

BBC News. (27 June 2004) NHS Doctors face discrimination. Retrieved 29 April 2009 from http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/3840021.stm

BBC News Thursday, 30 November 2000, Elderly failed by NHS Complaints System. Retrieved 29 April 2009 from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/1046720.stm

Commonwealth Times. Definition – Discrimination. Retrieved 29 April 2009 from http://media.www.commonwealthtimes.com/media/storage/paper634/news/2006/10/30/Opinion/Define.discrimination-2

Medical dictionary. Definition – Sexual orientation. Retrieved 29 April 2009 from http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/sexual+orientation

Medical Dictionary. Definition - Age discrimination. McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Retrieved 30 April 2009 from http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Age+Discrimination

ROSE NHS. (29 April 2009). Discrimination at work Retrieved 30 April 2009 from http://www.rose.nhs.uk/Working_in_the_NHS/Working_as_a_health_professional_in

VEHRC . Victorian Equal Opportunity and Rights Commission. Types of Discrimination. Retrieved 29 April 2009 from http://www.equalopportunitycommission.vic.gov.au/types%20of%20discrimination/default.asp

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