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Equality and Rural Needs

Welcome to the Equality Unit section of the Northern Trust website. Promoting equality of opportunity and good relations is of primary importance to the Trust.

COVID-19 related Equality and Rural Needs Screening

Northern Trust Rebuild Plans

These documents open in PDF.

Phase 1 Rebuild Plan
Phase 1 Rebuilding Services Equality Screening
Phase 1 Rural Needs Screening

Phase 2 Rebuild Plan
Phase 2 Rebuilding Services Equality Screening
Phase 2 Rebuilding Rural Needs Assessment

Phase 3 Rebuild Plan April – June 2021
Phase 3 Rebuilding Services Equality Screening
Phase 3 Rebuilding Rural Needs Assessment

Service Delivery Plan for July and August 2021(continued response to Covid)
Service Delivery Plan Screening Template July and August 2021
Service Delivery Plan Rural Needs Assessment July and August 2021

Service Delivery Plan for October 2021 – March 2022 COVID 19 Surge
Service Delivery Plan Rural Needs Assessment October 2021 – March 2022
Service Delivery Plan To Include Response To COVID 19 Surge 4th Wave

Northern Trust strategic response to COVID-19

The Northern Trust carried out a Section 75 equality screening of its strategic response to the Covid 19 pandemic. This reflects our commitment to the effective implementation of our Section 75 equality and good relations duties and the commitments in our Equality Scheme. The Covid 19 pandemic has required a decisive and responsive plan to be put in place including temporary amendments to provision of services and active redeployment of staff to priority areas in order to protect public health, save lives and protect Health and Social Care. This equality screening will be subject to continuous review to ensure that we can address any unanticipated equality impacts and introduce further mitigation as necessary. For your information, and in the interests of openness and transparency, this equality screening is now publicly available below.

Covid 19 Surge Plans Overall Equality Screening 2020
Resilience and Winter Pressures Plan Equality Screening 2020

Rural Needs

Mindful of its obligations under Section 1(1) of the Rural Needs Act (NI) 2016 Northern Trust has also completed an overarching rural needs screening of the Trust’s response to the Covid 19 pandemic. In order to protect public health and ensure capacity in the service to protect life and respond to the potential impact of COVID-19 these measures have had to be put in place as a matter of urgency.   Priority areas within this screening has been given to the physical shift of services, the creation of geographic specific new services and the delivery of services by remote means utilising technology and broadband services to deliver. The Trust’s response to COVID-19 is under constant review and further measures may have to be taken at any stage to protect public health.   The Northern Trust Rural Needs Screening Template is available below.

Covid 19 Response Rural Needs Screening
Winter Pressures and Resilience Plan Rural Needs Assessment 2020
Rural Needs Annual Monitoring 2020 – 2021
Rural Needs Annual Monitoring 2021 – 2022
Rural Needs Annual Monitoring 2022 -2023 (PDF)

If you require screening documents in an alternative format, please contact equality.unit@northerntrust.hscni.net.

Rural Needs toolkit for Health and Social Care – how to address the Needs of the Rural Population. This Toolkit seeks to help those in the health and social care sectors to address the needs of their rural populations when they develop strategies, initiatives and service delivery plans.

Whiteabbey Nightingale Hospital

Whiteabbey Hospital became a second Nightingale facility for Northern Ireland in preparation for a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. This is a regional service operating as an Enhanced Nursing and Therapies Rehabilitation and Step Down Unit, providing extra bed capacity to aid the flow of patients from acute care. It accepts patients, from across Northern Ireland, who would benefit from a period of intense multi-professional rehabilitation following discharge from an acute hospital and before returning to their normal place of residence.

Equality, Good Relations And Human Rights Screening
Rural Needs Impact Assessment

Interpreting and Translation Services

We are committed to ensuring that people understand the treatment and support options available.  If you require an interpreter, please use our Interpreting and Translation Service.

Interpreting and Translation Services

Equality and Disability Action Plans

The Trust has in place an Equality Action Plan and Disability Action Plan which after consultation were amended in light of feedback received and approved by Trust Board, along with the accompanying consultation outcome report in March 2018.  All of these documents are also available in an easyread format.

The Trust has revised its Audit of Inequalities document which has helped identify the inequalities to be addressed in our plans.

Audit of Inequalities

Equality Scheme

Our Equality Scheme sets out how the Trust will fulfil its equality duties. The Trust’s Equality Scheme has been approved by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland. The Scheme outlines what we intend to do to improve fair and equal access to services and employment. In approving the Scheme the Equality Commission commended the Trust for adopting the best practice in promoting equality and going beyond the minimum legal obligations in order to do so.

The Scheme is available, on request, in accessible formats, including Easy Read, Braille, audio formats (CD, mp3 or DAISY), large print or minority languages.

Disability Equality Training Video

This video has been co-designed and is delivered by people who have a disability and is a valuable resource to help ensure service users, carers and work colleagues are treated fairly, with respect and dignity.

Watch the Disability Equality Video

Annual Progress Reports

Each year the Trust publishes a progress report detailing how we are promoting equality of opportunity and implementing the commitments in our Equality Scheme.

It is here that you will find what we are doing to meet our legal duties on equality of opportunity and find information on what progress we are making with screening and equality impact assessment of our policies and functions.

Equality news

Good Relations

The Northern Trust is committed to the promotion of good relations amongst people of different religious belief, racial group or political opinion.  During Good Relations week 2020, the six health and social care trusts engaged with a number of stakeholders to produce a consistent, clear and unequivocal statement for the HSC Sector to outline our pledge to promote Good Relations amongst everyone – our patients, service users, carers, visitors and staff.  Consensus was reached on the following statement.  The statement will be prominently displayed throughout Health and Social Care facilities in Northern Ireland to remind everyone of this important commitment.

Good Relations Statement
Good Relations Statement Banner Easy Read Version (PDF)


Policies and proposals

In keeping with the Trust’s commitments in its Equality Scheme the Trust has screened its new policies and proposals. The screening process is used to identify which policies/proposals are likely to have an impact on equality of opportunity or good relations. Screening assesses the likely impact as major, minor or none.

If it is decided that a policy/proposal is likely to have significant/major issues relating to equality, it is then necessary to carry out a more detailed exercise called an equality impact assessment (EQIA).

Rural Needs Reporting Template

Multi- Cultural beliefs

This is a resource to provide guidelines for treating people with different religions and/or beliefs. It includes general guidelines on cultural diversity, a culturally sensitive health and social care checklist, a section on spiritual and religious needs assessment and details on interpreting and translation services.

Multi Cultural Beliefs Handbook

Promoting Equality, Good Relations and Human Rights

Equality Guidance For Board Members

This guidance helps to ensure that all board Members are aware of their roles and responsibilities in relation to equality, good relations and human rights and the integration of Section 75 duties across all Trust functions including areas such as service provision, policy formulation, employment and procurement.


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