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How is our work influencing life in Northern Ireland and delivering equality? Learn more about our policy, legal and research work.

H&SC trusts fair employment

How is the health and social care workforce made up?

What you need to know

The Health and Social Care Trusts: Fair Employment Report  is a focused review published in 2012 of the community background of staff in Northern Ireland’s five health trusts. The results show the positive impact of planned changes to equality practices and the value of Article 55 reviews.

The report shows that Roman Catholics make up [51.2%] of the overall workforce and Protestants [48.8%]. The proportions, however, vary across different employment sectors and geographic locations.

For example, the proportion of Catholics in nursing and midwifery is [56%], whereas that in medical and dental is [43.8%]. Nursing and midwifery is the largest job group in the sector - 37% of all health trust employees.

In support services, with over 7,000 employees, the geographic area from which employees are drawn is more restricted than for other jobs. This may have an impact on community composition and the report shows that in the Royal Hospitals over [95%] of more than 800 support staff is Roman Catholic, whereas in the Ulster Hospital almost 95% of around 500 employees is Protestant.

In this paper we have worked in co-operation with the trusts and drawn on the annual collation of monitoring data and the three yearly reviews carried out by them. In addition we completed an audit of the three yearly ‘Article 55’ reviews conducted by all employers which shows the positive impact these exercises have in planned improvements to equality practices. We have also used the aggregated data from these recurring exercises to assess trends over time.

Analyses such as these can be of great benefit both to our understanding of trends and dynamics within the workforce and to the continuing enhancement of equality of opportunity and good practice.

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