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2010 Health Care Service Group Conference
11 December 2009

Conference acknowledges the potential of the Knowledge and Skills Framework (KSF) to support NHS staff to identify and meet their development needs. Conference also notes that equality and diversity, including human rights applications, is one of the core dimensions in the KSF for all staff. Conference believes this is a vital tool for building a working environment that challenges discrimination in employment and enshrines human rights in the work of all NHS staff.

Conference welcomes this potential and the positive role played by UNISON in promoting this to our members. However, conference notes that the reality for many members is that they are being left out of the KSF and their development needs are being neglected. Conference further notes that equality and human rights approaches are not always evident. Examples of where KSF principles are not being implemented include:

1.failure to use the KSF to embed equality in the NHS and take pro-active steps to prevent discrimination and harassment of staff;

2.lack of recognition of the rights of staff undergoing gender reassignment;

3.difficulties for same sex partners in accessing family friendly employment provisions;

4.failure to train staff to recognise the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patients in such settings as dementia care or supporting people with a learning disability, where a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity are often overlooked.

Conference therefore calls for a fresh campaign to make the KSF a reality for all NHS staff, with particular emphasis on the core dimension of equality and diversity, including human rights, in the workplace.