§ Mr. Corbyn
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what guidance he issues to regional health authorities regarding the implications for their employment practices of Her Majesty's Government's policy on racial discrimination.
§ Mr. Kenneth Clarke
In 1978, following the coming into effect of the Race Relations Act 1976, the Department issued a Health Circular (HC(78)36) setting out its implications for the National Health Service. That circular is still current. There is in addition a general Whitley council agreement, binding on health authorities and their staff, which requires that all staff be afforded equal opportunities in employment, irrespective of their sex, marital status, religion, creed or colour. The circular and the agreement are both in accordance with the Government's present policy on racial discrimination.
In November 1983 the Commission for Racial Equality wrote to chairmen of all regional and district health authorities drawing their attention to their code of practice for the elimination of racial discrimination and the promotion of equality of opportunity in employment. We are currently considering whether any further advice should be issued to health authorities.