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Publication of research Perspectives on discriminatory behaviours in health and care

The PSA has published the research report Perspectives on discriminatory behaviours in health and care. We hope that you will find the report both interesting and useful. The research and accompanying infographic can be found here.

“It’s your health and wellbeing that’s in their hands. The tax man, you don’t ever see him. The doctor is quite personal, you need to feel comfortable sharing your issues.”

This quote from the research illustrates why, when a patient is subject to unfair treatment, it has the potential to affect trust and confidence in the healthcare professional, something which in turn can have an impact on patient safety.

We commissioned Research Works to undertake this qualitative research, a mixture of group discussions and interviews, on our behalf. It aims to take forward work following the publication of our Safer care for all report last year, as well as to help form part of the wider evidence base. In the chapter on tackling inequalities, we remarked that, while regulators take discriminatory behaviour seriously, how they deal with such behaviour by their registrants can vary. A key aim of the research, therefore, was to help inform a consistent and appropriate approach by the regulators and Accredited Registers towards the various types of discrimination.

To meet this aim, the study examined what constitutes discriminatory behaviour in health and care from the perspective of the research participants and the different ways in which this behaviour may have an impact on public safety and confidence. It also drew out views on how health and care professional regulators should respond to different types of discriminatory behaviour by registrants.

As part of the research, participants set out the markers that they think indicate how serious the behaviour is. These markers can help inform what fitness to practise sanction is appropriate:

  1. Intent – was the behaviour deliberately discriminatory/unfair or through lack of awareness/training?
  2. Vulnerability and outcome for the patient – how vulnerable is the patient on the receiving end of the behaviour, how bad was the outcome for the patient?
  3. Frequency – was this a one-off or is it repeated enough to form a pattern of behaviour?

The publication of the report coincides with our Chief Executive, Alan Clamp, speaking at a session on equality at the NHS ConfedExpo 2023 in Manchester today.

Please do share the link to the research with any contacts you feel would be interested in it.


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