Equality and good relations in the Northern Trust

At a recent Northern Health and Social Care Trust Board meeting members were given an update on developments in equality and good relations throughout the Trust during the past year.

Highlights during the year included approval of the Disability Action Plan; launch of the 6th module of the Discovering Diversity E Learning Package; development of user panels and a ‘Better Services for Invisible Clients’ event.

Alison Irwin, Head of Equality in the Northern Trust said:

“This has been another productive year for the Trust’s equality agenda. Trust Board approved our Disability Action Plan (DAP) having considered the feedback received during formal consultation. The Trust worked closely with other Health Trusts and the disability sector in developing the Plan and hosted a regional event in Unison Headquarters in Belfast, which was well attended by a range of disability organisations.

“A 6th module of our Discovering Diversity E-Learning Package was launched to ensure all Trust staff can work with and provide services to people with different cultural backgrounds.

“In November 2012, the Northern Ireland Health and Social Care Interpreting Service (NIHSCIS) received a landmark figure of 300,000 requests since its inception in 2004 and the number of requests were fast approaching 350,000 towards the end of March 2013. To put this in context, in 2004 less than 1000 requests were received in a year and approximately 450 requests are now received each day.

“The Trust continues to support its user panels including the Disability Consultation Panel, Older People’s Panel and Mental Health Forum to ensure the effective engagement with service users in the development and provision of services. Earlier this year the Trust, supported by Compass Advocacy Group, set up a service user forum for people who have a learning disability so they can get involved to help us to make our services better.

“The Trust hosted an event called ‘Better Services for Invisible Clients’ in partnership with key organisations including The Rainbow Project, Carafriend and Unison. The event was aimed at integrating the health needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender clients into the design and delivery of health and social care”.

If you would like further information on developments in equality and good relations throughout the Trust please contact the Equality Unit on 028 2766 1377.

9th September 2013

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