Our new Perspective “Equality, Diversity, and Non-Discrimination in Healthcare: Learning from the Work of Equality Bodies” explores a relatively under-examined field in the work of equality bodies compared to other fields such as employment.
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted blatant health inequalities and the importance of securing egalitarian access to healthcare. Some groups are particularly affected by inequal and discriminatory healthcare practices, such as older people, people with disabilities, trans people, intersex people or Roma people. Adopting a multi-ground viewpoint, this perspective builds on the recent challenging context to establish the learning from the work of equality bodies on healthcare for policy-makers at European and national level and for equality bodies themselves.
The findings of the perspective points to multiple obstacles faced by equality bodies in the field of healthcare, such as lack of resources of healthcare systems, geographical unbalance of services, lack of expertise of equality bodies in this complex field, the power imbalance between patient and provider, etc.
While equality bodies do work on equal access to healthcare through their various functions (including casework, promotion of good practices, research, policy advice and communication), they need to build their expertise and capacities on the complex issues arising in this field of work. Policy-makers are also invited to strengthen equality legislation in the field of healthcare, provide adequate resources to equality bodies and establish an equality standard for healthcare provision.
The webinar series on equality, diversity and non-discrimination in healthcare, organised in June 2021, builds on the learnings from this perspective.