Equality Delivery System

Implementation of the NHS Equality Delivery System (EDS)

Background: The NHS is committed to ensuring that all patients have equal access to healthcare and providing a quality of care that does not depend on any personal characteristics of the patient, such as age, gender, race or religion. The EDS is a vehicle designed to support NHS organisations to understand where there may be inequality in service delivery and health outcomes, and improve on this, and also to ensure that our staff body is diverse and well-supported.

The EDS works by requiring us to analyse and grade our performance in relation to 18 outcomes, based on four goals. These goals are:

  1. Better health outcomes for all
  2. Improved patient access and experience
  3. Empowered, engaged and inclusive staff
  4. Inclusive leadership

Ambulance Services are not expected to grade themselves. We must work with 'local communities of interest' or 'local interests' who will help us assess how well we are doing and where we need to improve.

Who are our 'local interest groups'?

Ambulance Services need to work with their patients, carers, staff and communities, including seldom heard groups, to agree who we should be working with to do this. In some areas these may be Local Involvement Networks (LINks), or potentially Healthwatch, which comes into being from April 2012. However, there are many LINks in the regions we cover as well as a number of other groups and organisations that represent the seldom heard, so it will be important that we work with our stakeholders to agree who should represent 'local interests' for ambulance services.

How does it work?

Your local ambulance service needs to work with local interests to do an initial grading for the organisation which will help define and agree equality objectives, and an action plan for improvement. Local interests will work with their ambulance Trust to grade the Trust's performance annually. This review should be embedded in planning cycles, not be an add-on. The grades will be reported to the NHS Commissioning Board, who will publish grades for all NHS organisations in the form of a star rating. The EDS is designed to help organisations improve annually, working alongside local interests.

More information about EDS:

We need to begin implementing the EDS in April 2012: which means we must have identified and engaged with our communities of interest, undertaken and agreed our initial grading which will help us develop objectives and action plans. We need a sustainable process to continue to work alongside these communities on grading and objective setting going forward.

Click here for EDS checklist and narative