Health and Social Care
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For m2 I have been asked to discuss how discriminatory practice can be avoided in health and social care settings. I will use relevant examples to identify five forms of discrimination and to show how service users can be discriminated against and make suggestions on how these discriminations can be prevented.
To discriminate means to make choices based upon categories, for example to hire someone of European descent and not people of African descent. There are a number of different ways that an individual can be discriminated against in health and social care settings or services as well as in everyday life. Some forms of discrimination are clear to see, such as use of racist language, whereas others are more subtle and discreet.
Discrimination occurs when someone’s prejudice affects the way they treat other people. In a health and social care proffesions it is important that practitioners such as nurses and carers do not allow their prejudice to influence the way they treat service users.
There are four different forms of discrimination –
1. Unfair discrimination is when an individual is treated unfairly in contrast to someone else. An example of unfair discrimination is an individual not being considered for a job because they are older then another candidate, despite having the same experience and qualifications.
2. Direct discrimination is when someone is rude, hostile or offensive, when an individual is treated less favourably then another because of certain attributes they cannot change such as race/colour, gender, age, sexuality and disabilities. An example of how direct discrimination can occur in a health and social care setting is, a nurse deciding to not treat an individual because of their ethnic background or cultural beliefs.
3. Indirect discrimination is putting rules, conditions or arrangements in place that apply to everyone, but then puts an individual with a protected characteristic at an unfair disadvantage. For example a nursery setting placed in a multicultural area producing leaflets giving information on their services only in English, knowing enlish is not the first language for most residents.
4. Positive discrimination
In a health and social care setting there are many ways in how service users can be discriminated against, below I will identify five of these forms of discriminations, giving an example of how it could occur and suggestions on how they can be prevented.
1. Age discrimination – Age discrimination or ageism is a stereotyping and discriminating against an individual or group because of their age, treating a person (employee or applicant) less favourably because of age.
Under the equality act 2010 it states it is unlawful to discriminate against employees, jobseekers and trainees because of age, this includes direct or indirect discrimination against anyone unless it can be justified, to victimize someone because of age which is vicimisation and to not subject someone to harassment because of age. The equality act also removed the upper age limit on unfair dismissial and redundancy. These regulations apply to all workers.
An example of how service users can be discriminated against age in an health and social care setting is, an individual not being considered for a job because they are younger then another candidate, although they both have the same qualifications and experience.
To prevent age discrimination a policy should be put in place which includes definitions of age discrimination, with examples. Another way is to provide reporting procedures, for example if a service provider witnesses age discrimination they must take imidiate action to deal with it. Organizations should make sure all health care providers are clear on the age discrimination policy, this can be done through communication, announcing it in all staff meetings, posting it in detail on bulletin boards around the organization and having it incorporated in employees hand books.
2. Racial discrimination – Racial discrimination or racism is discriminatory, abusive language or behavior to someone of a different race. Race includes nationaility, ethnic background, race and colour. Treating an individual less favourably because of these characarticits.
The racial regulations order 1997 makes it unlawful on racial grounds to refuse or deliberately fail to provide services. To deliberately provide services of a lower quality or worse manner than usual because of someone’s race.
An example of how racial discrimination can occur in a health and social care setting is - A receptionist in a doctors surgery telling a woman of Indian origin that there are no appointments for two weeks but the proceeds to offer a white woman a appointment for the next day. Another example is – A health care centre producing leftlets written in English about their services in an area where English is not the first language for most residents. These are both example of how race discrimination can occur.
Ways to prevent racial discrimination are, for all health care providers to produce information in all languages, possibally having an interperter if needed. For all employees to follow the policies and procedures and to coduct a professional manner keeping personal feelings aside.
3. Sex discrimination – Sex discrimination is the unequal treatment of an individual based on their sex, wether male, female or transsexuals. According to the equality act 2010 all individuals have the right to not be discriminated against because of their sex when a public body supplies them with goods or services
Examples of how sex discrimination can occur against service users is - A male patient in a hospital asking if he can have a female nurse as he does not feel comfortable with a male nurse examining him but being declined yet a woman patient having the same issue with a male nurse and wanting a woman nurse and her request is fulfilled. Another example is a local authority providing a bungalow accommodation for women aged 60 and men aged 65. This is a direct discrimination to use the different ages for men and women.
Ways to prevent is by treating people as an individual no matter their sex, to ensue bith men and woman are treated fairly and equally
4. Disability discrimination – discrimination against disability is when an individual is treated less favourably for a reason which relates to their disability. As it states in the disability discrimination act it is unlawful for service providers to treat individuals unfairly because of their disability, they must also make reasonable adjustments for people, such as giving individuals extra help. They must also consider making changes to physical features of their premises to ensure there are no physical barriers to prevent people from using their services such as adding a ramp of a lift.
Example of how discrimination against disability can arise in a health and social care setting against service users is – A GP refusing to register a patient on their list because they have mental health issues but accepts other patients on their list who do not have this disability is a form of direct discrimination.
Ways to prevent this type of discrimination is by ensuring access is made for disabled people, by making reasonable adjustments i.e ramps and lifts, and to respect people as an individual. Ensuring they follow all policies and procedures.
5. Religion and beliefs discrimination – Religious discrimination is valuing or treating a person or group differently because of their religious beliefs. Discrimination against religion and beliefs is against the law, individuals are protected by the law if they belong to an organized group such as Christianity, Judaism or Islam. For example a nurse who is Christian refusing to treat someone who belies in Islam. This is discrimination.
An example of how religious discrimination can occur in a health and social care setting against service users is – A Conclusion
In this assignment I looked at different ways in which service users could be discriminated against in health and social care settings, I gave examples of how these could occur and ways they could also be prevented.
Discriminatory practices remove services users rights and can make it hard for them to voice and opinion. To prevent and stop discrimination from happening in health and social care settings, organizations should promotes equality of opportunity and can do this by having relevant policies and procedures in place, to provide all individuals with a service of equal quality but which meets their personal needs.