HC Deb 18 October 1993 vol 230 cc27-8W
Mr. Hoyle

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance her Department has given to general practitioners involved in appointments procedures to draw their attention to their responsibilities under the Race Relations Act 1965, the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and her Department's initiatives; and what is being done to require general practitioners involved in such procedures to undergo equal opportunities training in selection and recruitment.

Mr. Sackville

General practitioners are independent self-employed contractors to the national health service and are themselves responsible for the appointment of their staff. As with any employers, it is their duty to inform themselves of, and have regard to, their responsibilities under employment law and equal opportunities legislation. Advice on such matters is available to general practitioners through their family health service authority.

Mr. Hoyle

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what is being done to ensure that managers involved in appointments procedures receive the full support of their own management in respect of their obligations towards equal opportunities;

(2) what is being done to ensure that managers from health authorities and self-governing trusts involved in appointments procedures are aware of their obligations with respect to equal opportunities; what steps are taken to report any refusal by general practitioners to observe their obligations with respect to equal opportunities in appointments procedures (a) to their own manager and (b) to any applicant seeking the reasons for failure to obtain a post sought;

(3) what guidance has been given to ensure that equal opportunities policies are monitored.

Mr. Sackville

All national health service managers are expected to comply with national legislation on sex and race discrimination and to implement their health authority's or trust's equal opportunities policy, which should include appointments procedures.

General practitioners are independent contractors.

Current guidance to the NHS on priorities and planning includes a requirement that corporate contracts and business plans specify targets to improve equal opportunities for ethnic minority and disabled staff. Current guidance on monitoring gender issues is contained in "Women in the NHS: an implementation guide to Opportunity 2000", a copy of which is available in the Library. In addition, there is detailed guidance on operating fair recruitment and selection procedures for doctors and dentists in the hospital and community health service.

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