Creating a fairer Britain
The Equality Act came into force on 1 October 2010. Some of the information on this page may be out of date.
No matter what your circumstances, when using health or social care services you should always be treated fairly and with respect. This is particularly important when you are unwell or dependent on the actions or care of others; for example, staff in hospital or carers at home.
You are entitled to be treated properly and with respect when using health and social care services, whether as a patient or a carer. Find out more about what may constitute abuse or neglect in a health or social care setting.
A man with learning disabilities was living in a residential care home. He was regularly tied to a bed or his wheelchair for 16 hours at a time, to prevent him from hitting his head and face. This kind of situation would breach his right not to be treated in an inhuman or degrading way.
As a public authority, the NHS has legal responsibilities to promote equality and tackle discrimination in the way it provides access to services and treatment. Find out more about the legal duties of public authorities.
As an example of the way in which respect applies, the Department of Health has committed to phase out single sex accommodation in NHS hospitals by March 2010. The way this will be accomplished is set out in an official letter from the Chief Nursing Officer and the Director General of NHS Finance, Performance and Operations, dated March 2009.
The instructions include policy directions on how to accomplish this for: