Equality watchdog ignoring 'institutional ageism' in the NHS in favour of sex, ... trends now

Equality watchdog ignoring 'institutional ageism' in the NHS in favour of sex, ... trends now

The equalities commission is failing to protect elderly Britons from discrimination as it is too preoccupied with race and transgender issues, a leading campaign group warns.

Silver Voices claims the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is ‘routinely’ ignoring older people’s rights as it prioritises other minorities.

It is now calling on the government to launch a major review into the regulator amid concerns it is ineffective and delivering poor value for its £18million a year budget.

The EHRC is supposed to enforce the Equality Act 2010, which makes it unlawful to discriminate against or harass individuals based on nine protected characteristics.

These are: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation.

But Silver Voices, which campaigns for the over-60s, says the EHRC appears disinterested in tackling complaints related to age, such as ‘institutional ageism’ in the NHS.

Silver Voices complained that NHS policy on age limits for cancer screening contravenes the Equality Act

Silver Voices complained that NHS policy on age limits for cancer screening contravenes the Equality Act

The current EHRC Business Plan has specific projects on sexual discrimination, race discrimination and discrimination against travellers but nothing on age discrimination.

Silver Voices has written to the public body to complain about the elderly being denied healthcare, such as cancer treatment and vaccines, that it believes would be available for young patients.

But it says its complaints have been ignored or resulted in no apparent action being taken.

Silver Voices submitted a compliance complaint to the EHRC six months ago, against the NHS, on the grounds that its policy on age limits on cancer screening contravened equalities legislation. The complaint was backed up by a petition with over 100,000 signatures.

Despite agreeing to examine the complaint, the EHRC appears to have taken no action on it.

Dennis Reed, the director of Silver Voices, said he has not been asked to discuss the complaint and no progress reports have been given.

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