Consultation on proposed safe staffing laws for nursing and midwifery: independent analysis of responses

Independent analysis of responses to the consultation on enshrining safe staffing in nursing and midwifery in law.

Chapter 7 - Equality consideration

The nine protected equality characteristics are age, sex, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, race, religion or belief, pregnancy and maternity, disability, and marriage and civil partnership.

Question 17 - Do you anticipate any of the proposed options outlined in this consultation will have a direct or indirect positive or negative impact on any protected equality characteristics?

Table 25: Question 17 – Responses by type of respondent.

Type of respondent Yes No Not answered Total
Individuals 11 59 6 76
Health & Social Care Partnership 2 2 1 5
Independent sector health or social care organisation 2 2
NHS based professional group or committee 1 4 5
NHS Body or Board 1 5 6
Other 1 2 3
Other public body 1 1 2
Professional college, body, group or union 5 4 3 12
Total organisations 10 18 7 35
All respondents 21 77 13 111
% of all respondents 19% 69% 12% 100%
% of those answering the question 21% 79% 100%

A majority of those answering the question, 79%, did not anticipate any of the proposed options outlined in this consultation will have a direct or indirect positive or negative impact on any protected equality characteristics. The majority of individual and organisational respondents (59 out of 70 and 18 out of 28 respectively) did not expect the proposals to impact on any protected equality characteristics. However, the majority of Professional college, body, group or union respondents did expect the proposals to have an impact.

Table 26: Question 17 – Discussion Groups

Yes No Mixed Views Not answered Total
6 15 4 25

Fifteen discussion groups did not anticipate any impact, six did and four did not answer the question.

There were 29 further comments made through Citizen Space and 17 discussion groups made a comment. Comments tended to be brief.

The three most frequently-identified themes in relation to Question 17 were:

  • The potential impact on individuals using services in the event of service closure.
  • The disproportionate impact on women because of the number of women working in the care sector.
  • The need to engage with affected staff as well as specialist equality advisors.

Comments made by those who did not anticipate the proposals would have any impact included that there should be engagement with affected staff and equality and diversity advisors.

Those who did think there would be an impact sometimes identified which types of people or groups they anticipated being affected. They sometimes, but not always, also identified the nature of the anticipated impact. The suggestions included:

  • All or many of those within protected characteristics groups. Further comments included that they will be affected if services are threatened with closure.
  • Women, because they make up such a significant proportion of the affected workforces. It was suggested that the impact could be positive or negative depending on whether staffing is increased or decreased, and grades increased or decreased.
  • Pregnant women, if midwifery services are affected or if there is downward pressure on requests for flexible working from women who are pregnant or have caring responsibilities.
  • Older people and people with a disability could be affected positively if staffing levels increase.
  • Children and adults with Down's Syndrome and their families. It was felt that, provided implementation is monitored and action taken when agencies fail to comply, the proposals will improve quality of life. However, it was also suggested that greater attention should be given to training to ensure that the proposed options have a positive impact on expectant or new parents and people with Down's Syndrome. The particular issues raised were around the terminology used by some healthcare professionals and experiences of ante/post-natal care.

Although not a protected characteristic group, it was also suggested that other staff members are affected by variations in policy on providing cover when a member of the team is on maternity leave.


Back to top