DH consults on ageism ban in health and social care

The Department of Health has launched a consultation on implementing the ban on age discrimination in health and social care.

The measure, which would outlaw unjustifiable ageism in goods and service provision, is due to come into force in 2012, under the Equality Bill.

The consultation calls for views on how the DH should take forward the recommendations of a review into implementing the ban in the two sectors, carried out by Bristol Council chief executive Jan Ormondroyd and NHS South West head Sir Ian Carruthers.

Though the DH will not issue its formal response to the review until the spring, after the consultation, it proposed to take forward a recommendation from Ormondroyd and Carruthers to review age criteria used in its policies.

Distributing money

This will include a review of the system for distributing money to local authorities for adult social care, which is based on two funding formulae: one for younger adults and one for older people.

Ormondroyd and Carruthers’ review warned that the relative weighting given to each formula had been based on councils’ historic spending on younger adults and older people respectively, showing the potential to perpetuate unfair disparities between the two groups.

The consultation paper also said that a resource pack was being drawn up to help NHS trusts and councils meet the requirements of the ageism ban, in line with Ormondroyd and Carruthers’ recommendations.

Good practice guide

This will include an audit tool so that organisations can assess discrimination in their services and a good practice guide for adult social care departments to tackle ageism in social work, commissioning and service provision.

The DH called for comments on other guidance that would be useful, and also on Ormondroyd and Carruthers’ recommendations for NHS trusts and local authorities. These included that councils review their assessment procedures and care packages to ensure they are compliant with the ageism ban.

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