Equality and diversity

NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly is committed to promoting equality in access to services, health outcomes and in employment. We aim to ensure that equality and diversity is at the centre of our work. It is also integral to all our functions and policies.

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Our people

Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has a diverse population. Recognising and embracing our diversity helps us to better understand our population’s needs. Data helps us with this.

The census 2021 data tells us the following.

  • We have a growing population and an ageing population. Between the last 2 censuses, the average, or median, age of Cornwall increased by 2 years. It increased from 45 to 47 years of age. We have a higher average age than the south west region and England.
  • We have a higher-than-average number of people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or other, when compared to other rural areas.
  • In 2021, 8.1% of Cornwall residents identified as disabled and limited a lot in their daily lives. This is higher than the averages for the south west region and for England.

The joint strategic needs assessment helps us to identify and review changes in:

  • local health and wellbeing needs
  • inequalities of the local population

This helps inform service planning across the public sector.

By recognising the needs of the diverse communities we serve, we continue to promote equality in access to services, health outcomes, and in employment.

Equal opportunities employer

We believe in a workplace which is truly equal. It is our belief that people perform better when they can be themselves. We strive to make this a fair and equal workplace for all. A more diverse workforce makes better decisions. Happier employees mean better outcomes for patients.

Through monitoring data, we strive to know whether NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly is:

  • recruiting employees who may be disadvantaged or under-represented
  • broadly representative of our local population
  • promoting people fairly
  • paying men and women equally
  • making progress towards our equality aims

Disability Confident employer

Disability Confident is a scheme to help organisations recruit and retain people with a disability and those with health conditions.

By being disability confident, we aim to:

  • help people fulfil their potential
  • recruit and retain people with skills and talent
  • help to positively change attitudes, behaviours, and culture

Disability Confident helps businesses:

  • challenge attitudes towards disability
  • increase understanding of disability
  • improve employee morale and commitment
  • remove barriers for people with a disability
  • help people to fulfil their potential and realise their aspirations
  • draw from the widest possible pool of talent
  • save time and money on the costs of recruitment and training
  • keep valuable skills and experience
  • reduce the levels and costs of sickness absences
  • reduce employee turnover

NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly has signed up to the commitments of the scheme, which are:

  • inclusive and accessible recruitment
  • communicating vacancies
  • offering an interview to people with a disability
  • providing reasonable adjustments
  • supporting existing employees

Mindful Employer

NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly have signed up to the Mindful Employer initiative. This is a long-term pledge. With the right support, people with mental health issues can, and do, stay in work and can be a real asset to our business.

The charter for employers who are positive about mental health is a voluntary agreement.

We have made an ongoing commitment to:

  • supply non-judgemental and pro-active support to colleagues who experience mental ill health
  • show a positive and enabling attitude to all colleagues and job applicants with a mental health condition
  • ensure all line managers have access to information and training about managing mental health in the workplace
  • ensure that people involved in recruitment are briefed on mental health conditions and the Equality Act 2010
  • be clear in any recruitment or occupational health check that people who have experienced mental ill health will not be discriminated against
  • make it clear that the disclosure of a mental health problem will help to ensure the right level of support or adjustment

Staff networks and staff groups

NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly is committed to inclusion. Together with our partners at Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, we offer a number of staff networks and staff support groups.

The networks and groups include the following and more.

  • Allies network
  • Armed forces network
  • Autism support group
  • Carers network
  • Diabetes support group
  • Ethnic minorities network
  • Gender equality network
  • LGBTQ+ employee network
  • Long term conditions and disabilities network
  • Menopause support group

We continue to work on inclusive approaches to support our colleagues.

Gender pay gap

All employers with 250 or more staff must publish gender pay gap figures on an annual basis.

The figures set out the average pay gap between men and women as a:

  • mean, or average hourly basis
  • median, or hourly pay average of the person in the middle

Read our gender pay report for 2023. (PDF only, 282Kb)

Human rights

We are committed to ensuring all NHS services:

  • respect human rights
  • treat people fairly and equitably

We recognise the needs of the diverse communities we serve.

Read our human rights statement and guidance (PDF, 363 KB).

The statement:

  • explains the law on human rights
  • gives advice and guidance to people about the law on human rights
  • explains what this means in a healthcare environment

NHS accessible information standard

People have the right to accessible information and support with communication. Health and social care services must provide this support and follow the Accessible Information Standard.

Aim of the standard

The aim of the standard is to help people with a disability, an impairment, or a sensory loss. It supports patients, carers, and parents. The standard aims to ensure people’s communication needs are known and met.

The standard says that organisations that give NHS or adult social care must:

  1. Ask people if they have any communication needs or need to receive information in a certain way.
  2. Make sure everyone’s needs are recorded in the same way and that they are easy to understand.
  3. Make it easy to see when a person has information or communication needs and how those needs can be met.
  4. Share the information with other providers of NHS and adult social care (this should only happen if they are allowed to see it).
  5. Make sure that people get information in a way they can access and understand, and get support if they need it.

Making information accessible

Services should ask people if they need help with communication. For example, people could say they need:

  • to be contacted in a certain way, such as by email, and not by phone
  • to receive information in a different format, such as large print
  • communication support, such as a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter
  • other support, such as hearing aids or lip reading

NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly aims that people can:

  • get information in a way they can access and understand
  • get support with communication
  • receive easy to understand information
  • have information available in different formats

Around 1 in 5 people in the UK has a disability. Making information accessible is not just good practice, it is the law. NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly’s services must be accessible to everyone who needs them. This helps to improve people’s health and wellbeing. It should also help to reduce health inequalities.

Cornwall accessible communications group

A multi-agency group set up to improve all forms of communication.

The group will:

  • oversee the implementation of the Accessible Information Standard
  • develop consistent standards around accessible information
  • draw on the expertise of voluntary and community sector organisations
  • share examples and good practice
  • act as a critical friend to review resources and ideas

All partners of the group are committed to:

  • improving communication
  • using plain English
  • enabling access to information in different formats

Accessible communications symbol

Developed by the Cornwall accessible communications group, the symbol is an image which shows examples of formats available. This includes audio files, Braille, and foreign languages.

We hope more organisations will use the symbol, as it will make it easier for anyone with a communication need to recognise the symbol.

We can supply the symbol in different formats. Email our engagement team if you would like to use the symbol.

Accessibility Regulations 2018

The Accessibility Regulations aim to make online public services accessible to everyone. We have worked to make this website as accessible as possible for all visitors.

Read more about our accessibility statement and options.

Equality delivery system

The NHS Constitution requires NHS organisations to involve patients and the public in the decision-making process and to place the patient at the heart of all that it does. NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly wants to make sure that the NHS equality delivery system (EDS) principle of making sure that everyone counts is integral to our engagement and communication work. EDS helps NHS organisations improve the services they commission for their local communities. The EDS provides better working environments, free of discrimination, for those who work in the NHS. It also meets the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 and helps to show how we meet the requirements of the public sector equality duty. Our EDS report can be found in the draft Equality information 2024 (PDF only, 696 KB) report, which is due to be finalised in March 2024.

Inclusive engagement

We actively seek to include people from a variety of communities in all aspects of our work. Part of the way we celebrate Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly’s diversity is by marking significant cultural events throughout the year. People from the local community are invited to talk about their experiences and needs at events across the system.

This helps to raise awareness of different protected characteristics, cultures, and inclusion health group needs. Celebrating and recognising cultural awareness days is an important way of empowering our workforce to be more inclusive. It also demonstrates our commitment to equality and diversity to our local populations. We believe that equality and diversity is core to our public engagement. Read more about how to get involved.

We want to make sure that everyone is able to engage in ways which are suitable to their needs. If you have a communication, access, cultural or other need when engaging with us, please tell us so that we can work to meet your needs.

Public sector equality duty compliance

Setting and publishing equality information is part of NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly’s compliance with the Equality Act (2010). It helps to show how we meet the requirements of the public sector equality duty. Read our draft equality information 2024 report, which is due to be finalised in March 2024. Equality information 2024 (PDF only, 696 KB)

Our equality objectives are to:

  • Implement clear development programmes on equity, diversity and inclusion. To improve cultural competency at all levels, ensuring our staff have skills and confidence in providing individualised care, across the system
  • Promote positive behaviours and address bullying, harassment, and discrimination through clear strategies to tackle systemic inequalities
  • Create equitable representation across all levels, developing an enhanced recruitment process to attract people and offer clear career progression
  • Work with system partners to improve equitable access to healthcare, involving and engaging the local population to focus on preventative care

Impact assessments

We try to ensure our policies, strategies, projects, and procedures are inclusive. We use impact assessments to understand the impact of decision making on our colleagues and members of the public.

This is important because decisions can affect different people in different ways. The impact assessment includes a consideration of protected characteristics and inclusion health groups.

Impact assessments should capture the positive, negative, and neutral impacts, to inform risk and action planning. By considering inclusion health factors, we take a wider view when considering the impacts of our services across our communities and aim to reduce health inequalities.

Page last reviewed: 6 March 2024

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