To prepare health and social care services for new anti-age discrimination laws, the Government is calling for peoples’ views on the likely implications.

The consultation, launched today, asks for comments on the recommendations of a review into the implications for health and social care of new age requirements in the Equality Bill.

The Bill will ban age discrimination against adults in public services. This has particular implications for health and social care because age can be a factor in decisions about some treatments and services. The Health Secretary, Andy Burnham has already signalled his support for implementing the new laws in 2012 when other sectors will do the same.

Sir Ian Carruthers and Jan Ormondroyd were asked by the Government to lead a review of equality in the NHS and social care. They found that:

  • Health and social care services should implement the new requirements in the same time as other sectors – 2012;
  • No areas within health and social care should have wholesale exemption from the legislation;
  • Where possible, age as a criteria for assessing care provision, should be replaced by more pertinent and individualised evidence;
  • Local authorities review their assessment procedures; and
  • All professional regulatory organisations review and, if necessary, revise their standards, codes of conduct and education programmes.

Phil Hope, Care Services Minister, said:

“The Government is determined to stamp out age discrimination. There can be no excuses but we must properly consider the unique challenges this presents for health and social care services. The views of the respondents to this consultation will be vital to help us ensure that the ban on age discrimination helps us improve services for everyone.”