Week 6 Anti-Discrimination and ‘Anti-Oppressive Practice’ In Health & Social Care

Week 6 Anti-Discrimination and ‘Anti-Oppressive Practice’ In Health & Social Care

Week 6 Anti-Discrimination and ‘Anti-Oppressive Practice’ In Health & Social Care
Over the past weeks, we have been exploring:
  1. The idea of EQUALITY
  2. The idea of DIVERSITY
  3. The idea of HUMAN RIGHTS

We have considered these ideas as they are applied in the health & social care professions.

Brief reflection: Take 5 minutes to write a sentence defining each idea above, as you understand it. Then, take 5 minutes to compare answers with the person next to you. Are they similar? Are they different? Take note.

  • We have noted that each idea – equality, diversity, human rights – is contested at the level of theory.
  • However, each idea is central to UK legislation & policy regulating professional practice in health & social care
  • So how are these ideas deployed in legislation & policy? We have begun to look at The Equality Act, UK (2010) & The Human Rights Act, UK (1998).
  • We shall critically investigate law & policy further.


What factors might incite discrimination or discriminatory behaviours?

  • Culture,
  • Race,
  • Disabilities,
  • Cognitive ability,
  • Social class,
  • Age,
  • Gender,
  • Sexuality,
  • Health status,
  • Family status & structure (e.g. lone parents, same sex couples)

What forms can discrimination take?

  • The infringement of (legal and/or moral) rights
  • Bullying
  • Various types of abuse
  • Covert or overt abuse of power
  • Prejudice
  • Stereotyping
  • labelling

What effects can discrimination have?

  • Loss of rights
  • Disempowerment
  • Lowering of self-esteem & self-confidence
  • Physical and/or psychological harm
  • Restricted opportunities
  • Unemployment
  • Negative behaviors (e.g. violence)

In the UK there have been efforts since (at least) the 1970’s to develop national initiatives to prevent discrimination in health & social care.

I.e. Codes of practice; Policies & procedures; Quality assurance; Legislation & regulations

How are these implemented?
  • Identifying & promoting certain values of care;
  • Having workplace policies;
  • staff training & mentoring

List of relevant conventions, laws & regulations:

  • Sex Discrimination Act 1975, Mental Health Act 1983
  • Mental Health (Northern Ireland) Order 1986,
  • The Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989, the Children Act 2004,
  • Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000,
  • Disability Discrimination Act 1995,
  • Human Rights Act 1998,
  • Data Protection Act 1998,
  • Nursing and Residential Care Homes Regulations 1984(amended 2002),
  • Care Standards Act 2000,
  • The Children Act 2004,
  • Disability Discrimination Act 2005,
  • Mental Capacity Act 2005,
  • Age Discrimination Act 2006,
  • Equality Act 2010
  • Codes of practice and charters: codes of conduct established by professional bodies
  • Quality assurance: e.g. care Quality Commission
  • Organisational policies and procedures: Policies (e.g. equal opportunities, bullying, harassment, confidentiality, health and safety); Procedures (e.g. work practices, positive promotion of individual rights, advocacy; staff recruitment, development and training; complaints procedures)

How can anti-discriminatory practice actually be promoted in health and social care settings?

–    Apply ethical principles (which ones? Discuss); put the people who use services at the heart of service provision by providing support consistent with the beliefs, values, culture and preferences of the individual; support individuals to express their needs and preferences, empower individuals, promote individuals’ rights, choices and wellbeing whilst identifying and challenging discrimination. Balance individual rights with rights of others and deal with conflict


AOP is used in health & social care settings with the aim of reducing discrimination, racism & oppression    (What is oppression? Discuss briefly)

It’s interdisciplinary, but its roots are in Social Work (e.g. see Mullaly, Bob; Mullaly, Robert (2010). Challenging Oppression and Confronting Privilege: a critical social work approach. United Kingdom: Oxford University Press).

Practitioners must critically examine power imbalances re: socio-cultural/political context,

& aim to develop strategies to create an egalitarian environment.

They must try to deliver services in an inclusive manner. Week 6 Anti-Discrimination and ‘Anti-Oppressive Practice’ In Health & Social Care.


Group work task:

Individually, read about the ‘anti-oppressive model’ (see web link in weblearn) (20 minutes).

In groups of 3-4, critically discuss how this model can be applied to the case-study (see case study in weblearn) (20 minutes)

Each group to feed back to whole class (20 minutes)#

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