Equality, Diversity and Human Rights

Image depicting diversity with young people lying in a circle on grass
Healthcare has diversity at the heart of it but it also has to promote equal choices and equality.  No individual should be accessing services that do not meet their needs because of a protected characteristic(s) of age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy/maternity, race/ethnicity, religion/belief, sex and sexual orientation.  There are wider aspects of equality that will impact on how we deliver and provide our services and how people access these services.  For example, poverty, socio-economic deprivation, unemployment, education, literacy, where you live, affluence, homelessness and the list can be endless.

Promoting equality is not one single person’s role.  It is the responsibility of all who take part in the planning and delivery of services regardless of where they sit in the organisation.  Robust and focused Equality Outcomes will support the delivery of the General Duty which will help to drive institutional and cultural change and most importantly make a difference to people’s lives.

NHS Tayside has zero tolerance to any form of discrimination and takes an organisational responsibility to ensure that there are policies and processes in place to tackle any level of discrimination in the organisation and to promote equality and value diversity.


Equality is about creating a fairer society where everyone can participate and has the opportunity to fulfil their potential.  It is mostly backed by legislation designed to address unlawful discrimination based on a protected characteristic.

It is important to acknowledge the fact that people do differ from one another and that these differences should be valued and given equal regard/value.

Therefore, equality is not merely treating everybody the same.

Equality is giving equal and absolute regard and value to an individual and any personal aspects in which they may differ from another individual.


Most definitions of diversity are based on the following concepts:

  • Diversity is about respecting and valuing difference
  • Diversity adds value to a society, culture or organisation
  • Diversity acknowledges the many ways in which people differ, because of age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy / maternity, race/ethnicity, religion/belief, sex and sexual orientation

Diversity is about creating a culture and practices that recognise, respect, value and harness difference for the benefit of the patients, carers, members of the public and members of staff.

Equality and Diversity are interdependent.  There is no equality of opportunity if difference is not recognised and valued.

imagery depicting race, age and belief
Images depicting race, age and belief