We're passionate in our belief that everyone has the right to receive the same level of care, regardless of who they are or where they live.

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust provides services which are inclusive of Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans Plus/ Queer (LGBT+/LGBTQ), disabled, Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities and all service users with protected characteristics.

We value patient feedback and we strive to tailor our services to meet the needs of our service users in line with equality legislation and our Trust vision and values.

Equally, our workforce, which reflects the diverse population of our communities, will have equal opportunities for development. As a Trust we welcome diversity and look for self-motivated, enthusiastic people from all backgrounds who care about making a difference.

Our aims

We aim to:

  • celebrate and encourage the diversity of our workforce with regard to age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation or any other aspect of a person’s background
  • create a working environment where everyone feels included and appreciated for their work
  • promote and provide our training and employment opportunities
  • encourage creativeness and innovation, to ensure that each member of staff can give of their best and help us move forward with our equality, diversity and inclusion goals.

How to give feedback

If you have any suggestions on how we could further improve, please share them with us. You can email the inclusion team or write to:

Equality Diversity and Inclusion Lead

Human Resources

Sunderland Royal Hospital

Kayll Road

Sunderland

SR4 7TP

0191 565 6256

Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES)

The Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) requires all NHS organisations to demonstrate progress against a number of indicators of workforce equality, including a specific indicator to address the low levels of Black, Asian, Minority and Ethnic (BAME) Board representation.

The Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) is a means to try and ensure employees from BAME backgrounds have equal access to opportunities and receive fair treatment in the workplace.

As part of our Workforce Race Equality Standards (WRES) and statutory duties each year we produce a report analysing our staff make-up. 

For further information visit the NHS England WRES webpage.

To view the videos, please click on the links below.

NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard

The Workforce Race Equality Standard - Why the NHS needs it

Workforce Disability Equality Standard (WDES)

The Workforce Disability Equality Standard (WDES) is a set of ten specific measures (metrics) that enables NHS organisations to compare the experiences of Disabled and non-disabled staff.

The implementation of the WDES will enable us to better understand the experiences of disabled staff. It will support positive change for existing employees and enable a more inclusive environment for disabled people working in the NHS.

View further information about the NHS Workforce Disability Equality Standard (WDES).

Disability Confident

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, which provides hospital and community services across the region, has been accredited as part of a national campaign to support disabled people into work.

Being awarded the Disability Confident standard demonstrates that South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust has a positive attitude towards employing disabled people, and plays a leading role in changing attitudes towards disability.

As part of the scheme, the Trust has to commit to the following principles:

1. Actively looking to attract and recruit disabled people.
2. Providing a fully inclusive and accessible recruitment process.
3. Offering an interview to disabled people who meet the minimum criteria for the job.
4. Flexible when assessing people so disabled job applicants have the best opportunity to demonstrate that they can do the job.
5. Proactively offering and making reasonable adjustments as required.
6. Encouraging our suppliers and partner firms to be Disability Confident.
7. Ensuring employees have sufficient disability equality awareness training.

The Trust is committed to supporting disabled staff by:

1. Promoting a culture of being Disability Confident.
2. Supporting employees to manage their disabilities or health conditions.
3. Ensuring there are no barriers to the development and progression of disabled staff.
4. Ensuring managers are aware of how they can support staff that are sick or absent from work.
5. Valuing and listening to feedback from disabled staff.
6. Reviewing this Disability Confident employer self-assessment regularly.

Chaplaincy

Our Chaplains offer support, advice and spiritual guidance to patients and their family, friends and carers.  Find out more about the service here: https://www.stsft.nhs.uk/patients-and-visitors/visiting-times-and-information/chaplaincy-services

Equality Impact Assessments (EIAs)

An Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) is a systematic and formal process which supports the Trust to comply with its general and specific public sector duty under the Equality Act 2010. EIAs allow us to assess the impact of an activity across all protected groups.

An EIA is a tool that helps us to improve the delivery of services to our communities by:

  • Ensuring that our services are free from discrimination
  • Ensuring that we identify and address service user needs
  • Improving transparency around the decisions we make

The EIA process involves looking at evidence (for example, service user data, consultation outcomes, community profiles), engaging with people, staff, service users and others and considering the effect of what we do on the whole community.

Equality Delivery System (EDS2)

The Equality Delivery System (EDS) was commissioned by the national Equality and Diversity Council and mandated by NHS England in 2015.  It is a system that helps NHS organisations improve the services they provide together with better working environments, free of discrimination, for those who work in the NHS.  It also meets the requirements of the Equality Act 2010. 

The main purpose of the EDS2 is for NHS organisations to review and improve their performance for people with characteristics protected by the Equality Act 2010 and to help deliver on the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED).

Equality objectives

The purpose of the equality objectives are to help us make a real difference to some of the most pressing issues facing the protected groups that we provide services for and employ. They will also help us demonstrate how we are meeting our statutory duties.

Legislation

Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 replaces previous anti-discrimination laws by introducing a single Act. The only previous equalities-related legislation that was not replaced by the Equality Act 2010 is the Gender Recognition Act 2004 and the Race and Religious Hatred Act 2008. The Act legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and the wider society such as patients and service users in care.

Under the Act it is illegal to discriminate someone because of the following. These are called ‘protected characteristics’:

  • Age
  • Being or becoming a transsexual person
  • Being married or in a civil partnership
  • Being pregnant or on maternity leave
  • Disability
  • Race including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin
  • Religion, belief or lack of religion/belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation

You are protected from discrimination in many circumstances. This includes when using public services such as the NHS and whilst at work.

The Equality Act 2010 requires NHS organisations to meet the following three aims and have ‘due regard’ to them. This is called the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED):

Eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited under the Act

Advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it

Foster good relations between persons who share relevant protected characteristics and persons who do not share it.

Having due regard means that consideration of equality issues must influence the decisions reached by NHS trusts, such as:

  • How they act as employers
  • How they develop, evaluate and review policy
  • How they design, deliver and evaluate services
  • How they commission and procure from others.
  • The specific equality duties.

To help public bodies perform PSEDs effectively, regulations introduced two specific duties. The duties mean that NHS organisations are required to:

  • Publish information to demonstrate compliance with the PSED at least annually starting from 31 January 2012
  • Prepare and publish equality objectives at least every four years starting from 6 April 2012
  • Publish advice, guidance and useful documents.

Public Sector Equality Duty:

The Public Sector Equality Duty consists of a General Equality Duty, which is set out in Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 and Specific Duties which are imposed by secondary legislation (The Equality Act gives ministers the power to impose specific duties on public bodies to enable them to perform the Equality Duty more effectively). 

General Equality Duty:

The General Duty came into effect on the 6th April 2011. The 3 aims of the equality duty are to have due regard to the need to:

  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment, and victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited by the Act.
  • Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not. 
  • Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.
  • The General Equality Duty requires organisations to consider how they could positively contribute to the advancement of equality and good relations.  It requires equality considerations to be reflected into the design of policies and the delivery of services, including internal policies, and for these issues to be kept under review.

Specific Duties:

The Specific Duties came into force on 10 September 2011. The specific duties help public bodies perform the Equality Duty better. They do this by requiring public bodies to be transparent about how they are responding to the Equality Duty – requiring them to publish relevant, proportionate information showing compliance with the Equality Duty, and to set equality objectives.  The Government believes that public bodies should be accountable to their service users.  Publishing information about decision-making and the equality data which underpins those decisions will open public bodies up to informed public scrutiny.  It will give the public the information they need to challenge public bodies and hold them to account for their performance on equality.  Moreover, knowing that such information will be published will help to focus the minds of decision-makers on giving proper consideration to equality issues.

Public Sector Equality Duties:

Publish equality information on an annual basis.

Publish equality objectives at least every four years after first publication

Ensure objectives are specific and measurable, and set out how progress towards the objectives will be measured

Publish the objectives in a reasonably accessible format either as an individual document or as part of another report

Human Rights Act 1998

The Human Rights Act 1998 sets universal standards to ensure that a person’s basic needs as a human being are recognised and met.  Public authorities should have arrangements in place to ensure that they comply with the Human Rights Act 1998.
It is unlawful for a healthcare organisation to act in a way that is incompatible with the Act.  The Act urges public authorities to apply a human rights framework to decision making across public services in order to achieve better service provision.

Mental Health Act 2007

The Mental Health Act 2007 received Royal Assent on 19 July 2007.  It amends the Mental Health Act 1983, the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004.

The main purpose of the 2007 Act is to amend the 1983 Act. It is also being used to introduce "deprivation of liberty safeguards" through amending the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA); and to extend the rights of victims by amending the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004.

NHS Accessible Information Standard

The AIS ensures that patients, carers and parents of patients, and visitors who have a disability or sensory loss receive information they can access and understand. We strive to ensure that information is given in the appropriate format and all patient information is produced according to the accessible standards set by the UK Association for Accessible Formats. This includes:

  • large font patient letters and patient information leaflets
  • verbal and visual communication support 
  • patient information and patient letters in braille
  • email and text reminders
  • easy read
  • British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter

All healthcare professionals at the Trust must identify and record information and communication needs with patients and service users:

  • At the first interaction or registration with their service
  • As part of on-going routine interaction with the service by existing patients and service users.
  • How do we comply with the standard?

As part of the accessible information standard, healthcare staff who interact with service users or patients must do five things:

  1. Ask people if they have any information or communication needs, and find out how to meet their needs.
  2. Record those needs clearly and in a set way.
  3. Highlight or ‘flag’ the person’s file or notes so it is clear that they have information or communication needs and how those needs should be met.
  4. Share information about people’s information and communication needs with other providers of NHS and adult social care, when they have consent or permission to do so.
  5. Take steps to ensure that people receive information which they can access and understand, and receive communication support if they need it.

NHS England and NHS Improvement AIS Video

The Public Participation Team at NHS England and NHS Improvement has worked with the charity Sense to develop a new animated video which explains the Accessible Information Standard. The video is supported by British Sign Language interpretation too.

It’s available from the Accessible Information Standard webpages and directly on YouTube.

For more information on the standard can be accessed via the NHS England Website: https://www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/patients/accessibleinfo/

Charities including Action on Hearing Loss, CHANGE, Sense, and the Royal National Institute of Blind people (RNIB) have also published useful information.

There are some handy guides for staff under the Useful information for staff section.

Interpreting and translation services

If English is not your first language, or you have a disability which affects your ability to communicate, we can arrange for an interpreter to support you.

If you require interpreting services, please contact the service where you are being treated as soon as possible after you receive details of your appointment so that we can make the necessary arrangements.  

Depending on your specific needs, we will provide interpreting in one of the following ways, using authorised and contracted service providers to ensure quality:

  • Telephone based access
  • Face to face spoken language interpreting services
  • British Sign Language (BSL)
  • Hands-on communication using the Deafblind manual
  • Translation of documentation from English to a chosen language

Please note that we can only provide interpreting services for patients receiving treatment on the NHS.  If you are a private or overseas patient, you need to arrange and fund interpreting through your embassy.

Ramadan

Ramadan is the Islamic month of fasting, during which time Muslims do not eat or drink during daylight hours. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Ramadan begins on a particular day which may be different each year, and ends approximately 30 days later.

The starting and ending dates depends on the new moon sighting. The fasting hours increase to around 17 hours as days get longer at the later part of the month. 

Muslim adults are required to fast from dawn to sunset, but those in poor health or who have deteriorating health, the very elderly and mothers who are breastfeeding are exempt from doing so.

People who suffer from any chronic illness or health complication are advised to speak to their GP to see if they can safely fast during Ramadan. If fasting is not recommended by the GP, residents should speak to their local Imam. Imam can then advise them that there are ways they may be able to get the same reward as fasting.

Support for Muslim patients

Staff are asked to show their usual consideration and sensitivity towards colleagues and patients who wish to observe the fast. This may mean making certain practical arrangements on the wards, especially with regard to mealtimes and medication. Those fasting need a meal before the break of dawn and another after sunset. Breaking the fast with dates and/or other sweet food and water before a meal is the usual practice.

Prayer

During Ramadan, Muslims are also likely to want to spend more time in prayer, reading the Qu’ran, observing times of quiet and special rituals. For the purpose of prayer, water is required for ritual ablution. Facilities needed for patients include water for cleanliness, individual prayer mats and some quiet recesses, even at their bedsides. 

'Id-ul-Fitr

The end of Ramadan is marked by the celebration of 'Id-ul-Fitr. This is one of the most important occasions in the Muslim religious calendar and begins with a compulsory congregational prayer in a mosque or other suitable place. It is also a great social and family occasion, and some patients and staff may wish to have time away from the hospitals in order to reflect more.

Take a look at our Ramadan health factsheet for information on fasting safely

Sunderland Pride

2019 marks Sunderland's 9th annual LGBT Celebrations which are being held in Sunnyside Gardens.  The Trust will be attending the Parade and also host a stall.

The day aims to bring together the local community to celebrate and support inclusion and equality.

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust will have a stall at the event, to gather views from the LGBTQ+ community about its services. There will also be plenty of freebies and lots of fun throughout the day; including the opportunity to have a photo in the South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust selfie frame.

The Equality Lead from South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust said: “We value and celebrate diversity, and so are committed to creating an inclusive working environment, whilst developing and delivering services that respond to people’s individual needs. Taking part in Sunderland Pride symbolises this commitment.” 

Modern Slavery Act 2015 Section 54 - Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement

The Trust aims to follow good practice and take all reasonable steps to prevent slavery and human trafficking. We are committed to ensuring that all of our employees are aware of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and their safeguarding duty to protect and prevent any further harm and abuse when it is identified or suspected that the individual may be or is at risk of modern slavery/human trafficking

We are committed to ensuring that no modern slavery or human trafficking takes place in any part of our business or our Supply chain. This statement sets out actions taken by the Trust to understand all potential modern slavery and human trafficking risks and to implement effective systems and controls.  Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 requires all organisations to set out the steps the organisation has taken during the financial year to ensure that slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in any of its supply chains, and in any part of its own business.

Further resources

NHS England-Equality, diversity and health inequalities hub

https://www.england.nhs.uk/about/equality/

NHS Employers
www.nhsemployers.org

Improvement & Development Agency
www.idea.gov.uk

Equality Act 2010: Guidance
Equality Act 2010 Guidance for Employers, workers, Service providers and Service users

Human rights and public law
Human rights and public law (1 Crown Office Row)

Carers Trust -  https://www.carers.org/ 
The Carers Trust provides health and social care professionals with trusted information and best practice as part of their work with carers

Carers UK - http://www.carersuk.org/ 
Carers UK campaign to protect and extend the rights of carers. They provide practical advice and support to carers.