Equality, diversity and rights

Patients/clients are people, and people have rights. They have the right to be treated fairly and with dignity and respect, regardless of their age, gender, ethnic origin, sexual preference, economic status or religious beliefs (or non-beliefs). They have a right to be protected from harm or insult and to have their needs met when they’re unable to meet them themselves through illness or disability. They have a right to be involved in their care, to make their own decisions on the basis of the best information we can provide. And they have a right to either accept or decline the care and treatment we offer them, unless they’re legally obliged through court action to undergo a particular course of treatment.

The organisation you work for will have clear policies and guidance on issues related to equality, diversity and rights and may provide training opportunities – if you haven’t already done so, speak to your manager or supervisor about this.

We are going to consider equality, diversity and rights in this section by focusing on three elements: inclusion; anti-discriminatory practice; and preserving people’s dignity. To find out more about wider equality, diversity and rights issues, visit the RCN advice sheet.

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