Information alert

The guidance on this page relates to Mid Mersey division staff who transferred from North West Boroughs Healthcare on 1 June 2021. 

As a public authority, the Trust has a legal requirement to promote equality and set out how we plan to meet the 'general and specific duties' specified in the Public Sector Equality Duty of the Equality Act 2010. The Public Sector Equality Duty came into force in 2011. The legislation consolidated previous legislation and clarified different types of discrimination that are illegal.

The Act also gives protection to groups of people who experience discrimination based on their identity or characteristics.  It is unlawful to discriminate on the grounds of the 'protected characteristics'.

Protected characteristic

Potential discrimination


A person must not be discriminated against due to their age. 

For example, job descriptions are checked so they do not unintentionally discriminate by stating, for example, a candidate must have 20 years of experience. 

This field could affect anyone, young, old and middle aged, depending on the situation.



Disability can be visible or hidden and affect people by different degrees such as mental health problems, autism, dyslexia and sensory impairment such as deafness. 

Cancer and other long term conditions are covered by this category.


It is against the law to discriminate against someone based on their race/ethnicity such as traveller and gypsy communities and members of the black, asian, minority ethnic (BAME) communities.


This is where a person is treated differently and worse due to their sex/gender. Examples could include a man not being considered suitable to be a carer or a woman not been given the opportunity to be a manager.


Sexual orientation

Someone cannot be discriminated against because of who they are attracted too for example whether they are lesbian, bisexual, gay, questioning, pan-sexual, queer, straight etc. 

An example could be a same sex couple being turned down as potential adoptive parents due to their sexuality.

Gender reassignment

It is illegal to discriminate against someone who is at any stage of transitioning. There are no prescribed timescales for this. 

Some people may need to explore whether this is right for them.

You may come across someone at any stage of the process from the very tentative thoughts at the beginning or someone who has completed the process and lives in their identified gender. 

Transitioning may include surgery but not always; some people will successful transition without ever having had surgery.

We must respect the pronoun and name the person they want to be known by.


Religion or belief

A person has a right to follow their own religion/ faith or absence of faith. We can support people by accommodating the ways in which people practice their faith or belief. 

Beliefs are also covered by the act for example veganism.

Example of discrimination may include not allowing an inpatient access to religious materials.

Marriage and civil partnership

It is illegal to discriminate against someone due to their marital status or civil partnership relationship.  For example, it is illegal to limit the job prospects of a woman because she is married or unmarried.

Pregnancy and maternity

Pregnancy and maternity are a potentially vulnerable time, previously women may have found their job was taken by someone else or that they no longer had work. That is illegal and women are protected.

When we make changes big or small to practice or services we need to think how that can impact on people. To do this we need to think about the common aspects we have such as the protected characteristics.  Will services be fit for purpose for all ages and ethnic groups?  How will our decisions impact on disabled people and other minority groups?

The protected characteristics help us focus on the impact of our changes and help us ensure all members of our community receive fair and equitable services.

We should also consider the additional needs of other vulnerable groups such as carers, homeless, asylum seekers and sex workers. 

We must always bear in mind that many people have a combination of protected characteristics and this can mean a more complex response is required. 

We assess the impact of our decision by carrying out an Equality Impact Assessment, this is a process to help us think through what the impact of the change might be, and if necessary to take actions to mitigate negative consequences. 


Equality, Diversity and Inclusion is about creating an environment that supports all of us to be able to fully and equally participate in society considering the roles we have a different times in our lives such as employee, patient, service user, carer, child, parent, partner. 

Equality is about ensuring equal access of opportunity it does not necessarily mean treating everyone the same. 

Inclusion is about creating a fairer society where everyone can participate and has the opportunity to fulfil their potential. It is about recognising that everyone has different needs, which need to be met in different ways.  When people feel included it can mean, for example, a colleague can do their best work, or a service user can fully access care leading to better treatment outcomes.

Diversity is the many distinct characteristics that we bring to our experience as staff, patients, service users, carers. It is about recognising and valuing difference and seeing the richness and benefits that brings within our communities and the workplace.