Equality Diversity and Rights D1

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D1-Explore the impact and effects that the Human Rights Act had has had on anti-discriminatory practice in health and social care environments in general as well as specifically in your work placements “Quite simply we cannot hope to improve people's health and wellbeing if we are not ensuring that their human rights are respected. Human rights are not just about avoiding getting it wrong, they are an opportunity to make real improvements to people's lives.” Rosie Winterton, Minister of State for Health Services (Equality and Human Rights, 2007) The Human Rights Act places all public authorities in the UK under a duty to respect the rights it contains in everything that they do. The term ‘public authority’ includes the police and governments, organisations providing a function of a public nature, and the NHS and social services- which are the areas in which we will be exploring within this piece of work.

As health and social care environments are all covered under the Human Rights Act this therefore means that the authorities providing these health services are not only under a duty to not breach any human rights but to also take the necessary proactive steps in order to ensure that these human rights are respected, protected and fulfilled.

The rights within the act which are relevant to a health and social care context would include the right to life; the right not to be tortured or treated in an inhuman or degrading way; the right to respect for private and family life; the right not to be discriminated against and the right to freedom of expression and thought, including through methods of religion.

While some human rights are known as absolute rights, meaning they can never be limited or restricted no matter what the circumstances, most do however contain a degree of limitation (non-absolute rights); that under certain conditions the interference of an individual’s human rights may be lawful to protect the rights of others or the wider community....
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