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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

OP82. The Equality Act 2010 and adult mental health services: achieving non-discriminatory age-appropriate services

Price: £0.00

Published: Dec 2011

Status: current

Number of pages: 14

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From April 2012, unjustifiable age discrimination will be banned in the UK and health and social care services will be legally required to promote age equality in their adult mental health services.


Of all health and social care services, older people’s mental healthcare has been highlighted as one of the worst examples of discrimination. This has been described in a number of high-level national reports.


There is a danger that commissioners and providers of mental health services, in an attempt to meet the need for equality and to save money, might attempt to merge adult and older people’s services into ‘age-blind’ services. This does not recognise age-appropriateness, is against the policies of the government and the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and will result in indirect age discrimination.


As the population is ageing there will need to be more expertise available for older people, and specialist older people’s mental health services will be essential to train future generations to acquire that expertise.


This document:

  • Explains what age discrimination is
  • Gives examples of age discrimination in action
  • Describes the requirements under the Equality Act 2010
  • Provides guidance on responding to the equality challenge in a nondiscriminatory
  • age-appropriate manner.
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