I had an American CAPA intern working with me this summer. He was a lovely guy, who made the most of his internship. He put in an intense 25 hours a week, had one class with an assignment to present each week, and managed to jet around Europe each weekend. I grew quite attached to Stephen and missed him when he left at the end of summer.
Stephen has emailed me a couple of times since, and this week he really hit the nail on his head when he wrote:
“Sounds like something new and crazy tends to happen everyday [in the NHS].”
Immediately I thought of the new Equality Delivery System (EDS): a new framework that Trusts will use to measure how well they have embraced and embedded equality and diversity. From 2012 the grades awarded to each Trust for complying with the System will be published by the CQC and counted in the overall Trust’s performance monitoring assessment.
The concept behind this initiative originated from a dynamic project in the North West. Some months ago I had a conversation with the Project Lead, who explained that the project had evolved from an initial gap analysis and was primarily aimed at PCTs. By the end of our conversation, I felt that it would not be easy to transfer this concept to a Foundation or other acute /mental health Trusts and the HR Director I was working with at the time agreed. So I admit, when it comes to the EDS, I’m cynical from the start.
From an initial glance, I can’t see the point. All Trusts are required to have published Single Equality Schemes, action plans, and Equality Impact Assessments. And there is also the live and real threat of a CEHR visit should they should lapse in any way. Why add this layer of bureaucracy?
Trusts are being approached to be early adopter sites. Great, except the framework hasn’t gone out to consultation and it is recognised that it may significantly change. So early adapters will have to put themselves forward without really knowing what they are volunteering for. Why cause additional confusion?
And lastly, it looks like a lot of work. When all Trusts are either looking to make cuts because of financial pressures or as a result of the white paper, the last thing they need is additional administrative burden. Why now?
I’m not against effective monitoring of how inclusive a Trust is. It’s just that surely someone, somewhere should have asked the question:
‘Is there an easier, less time-consuming way to achieve this?’
I have plenty of suggestions is the DH is interested…..