Quality care for all

Our approach to equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI)

We are committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment where all our patients, carers, families and staff are treated with dignity and respect.

The NHS must welcome all, with a culture of belonging and trust. ​We must understand, encourage and celebrate ​diversity in all its forms (NHS People Plan 2020).

Our aim is to become a truly inclusive organisation that eliminates the conditions where discrimination occurs. To achieve this, we must commit ourselves to better understand and address all forms of discrimination and inequality. We know this will be a challenging task given the current inequalities faced by our workforce and local communities.  We are motivated to make meaningful, long lasting change.

  • Equality means making sure that everyone has access to the same opportunities.  This is not to say that you treat everyone in the exact same manner. Some groups or individuals may need support in different ways in which to access opportunities.

  • Diversity means considering the differences between people and placing value on those differences. When considering diversity, we’re thinking about representation from people of different backgrounds, identities, and abilities. This includes visible and non-visible characteristics. 

  • Inclusion is defined as an environment where everyone feels a sense of belonging, valued, accepted and respected of who have the ability to contribute. This concept puts emphasis on the way people feel.

In June 2023, NHS England published the EDI improvement plan which sets out six targeted actions to address direct and indirect prejudice and discrimination. These exist through behaviour, policies, practices and cultures against certain groups and individuals across the NHS workforce.

This plan aims to improve the outcomes, experience and culture for those working in the NHS with protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010 (although it is not limited to these groups) and links to the NHS people plan.

Our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) high impact actions

  1. Chief executives, chairs and board members must have specific and measurable EDI objectives to which they will be individually and collectively accountable

  2. Embed fair and inclusive recruitment processes and talent management strategies that target under-representation and lack of diversity

  3. Develop and implement an improvement plan to eliminate pay gaps

  4. Develop and implement an improvement plan to address health inequalities within the workforce

  5. Implement a comprehensive induction, onboarding and development programme for internationally-recruited staff

  6. Create an environment that eliminates the conditions in which bullying, discrimination, harassment and physical violence at work occur.

The Trust’s EDI strategy uses the EDI improvement plan as a framework as it is well-researched, collaboratively produced, recognises the complex issue of inequality and how to address this to facilitate meaningful organisational change.

Support for our patients

Our Patient Voice and Involvement team engage with local communities across East Kent, including those who don’t often get their voices heard or may find it harder to get access to NHS services.

We have policies that give guidance to staff on supporting patients and their families. These include:

  • Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policy for patients, carers and families

  • Supporting Gender Diverse Patients policy

  • Accessible Information policy.

If you'd like to read these policies, please email ekhuft.patientvoice@nhs.net to request a copy.

Your can find out more about how we are making hospital services more accessible on the Hospital Accessibility pages.

Contact the Patient Voice and Involvement team

We would love to hear from you!

Please email us at: ekhuft.patientvoice@nhs.net

Support for our staff

Staff networks

Our EDI team work closely with the Trust’s five staff networks who are a key part of the EDI strategy. Our networks are:

  • Ethnic Diversity Engagement Network (EDEN)

  • LGBTQIA+ Network

  • Neurodiversity Network

  • Staff Disability Network

  • Women’s Network.

Our staff networks provide a critical forum for individuals to come together, share ideas, raise awareness of challenges and provide support. They empower our staff with the opportunity to grow personally and professionally. 

Our Inclusion and Respect Charter

Our Inclusion and Respect Charter sets out the behaviours we should expect from our staff and others. To receive a copy of the latest version, please email ekhuft.edi@nhs.net

Our public duty

The Public Sector Equality Duty came in to force in April 2011 (section 149 of the Equality Act 2010). Public authorities like the Ministry of Justice are now required, in carrying out their functions, to have due regard to the need to achieve the objectives set out under s149 of the Equality Act 2010:

(a) eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited by or under the Equality Act 2010;

(b) advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it;

(c) foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.

To ensure transparency, and to assist in the performance of this duty, the Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) Regulations 2011 require public authorities to publish:

  • equality objectives, at least every four years (from 6th April 2012)

  • information to demonstrate their compliance with the public sector equality duty (from 31st January 2012)

Public sector equality duty - www.gov.uk

More information about the Equality Act and guidance

Equality Act 2010 legislation

Equality Act 2010 Guidance

Government’s Easy Read guide to The Equality Act

Equality Diversity System (EDS)

The Equality Delivery System (EDS) was commissioned by the national Equality and Diversity Council in 2010 and launched in July 2011 to help NHS organisations improve the services they provide for their local communities.

It is designed to provide better working environments, free of discrimination, for those who work in the NHS while meeting the requirements of the Equality Act 2010.

See our latest EDS report in our documents and publications section below.

Contact the EDI team

We would love to hear from you!

Please email us at: ekhuft.edi@nhs.net