Letters

Staff throughout the NHS have worked hard over the years to develop quality standards and charter marks in order to make services more accessible and appropriate to patients' needs.

Now may be an opportune time to develop a comprehensive quality charter for the NHS.

Working in an area which enjoys a rich cultural and ethnic diversity, I echo Reba Bhaduri's view (letters, 3 June) that the NHS and social services are ideally placed to champion race equality on a national scale.

Bradford Hospitals trust has been at the forefront of developing initiatives to meet the needs of all our patients.

With a strong commitment from the board, and input from representatives of the local community who sit on our service equity steering group, we have developed our own equality strategy. This has played a key role in developing services which are accessible, appropriate and sensitive to the needs of the diverse community we serve.

Our next step is to work in partnership with both the statutory and voluntary sector, as well as community groups, to develop an equality charter for the trust. This charter will ensure services take into account the changing needs of Bradford's population.

The NHS should now consider developing a nationwide equality charter, setting out broad national guidelines for local service providers to follow.

The equality charter would complement the Patient's Charter, and enhance the good practices that have already been introduced across the NHS. For example, local charters - such as maternity, children and care of the elderly - have offered opportunities for organisations to develop services in these areas.

It would not only place equality at the heart of the decision-making process, it would act as a vehicle for monitoring and evaluating progress.

We look forward to working with other NHS partners with the aim of introducing an equality charter at a national level.

David Jackson

Chief executive

Bradford Hospitals trust

Member of the Northern and Yorkshire 'Working Together' HR advisory group