Whilst much of the Equality Act 2010 is already in force, provisions which make age discrimination in the provision of services and public functions unlawful require secondary legislation for their implementation. Consultation opened on 3 March 2011 and closes on 25 May 2011. The main purpose of the consultation is to examine the scope of limited exceptions to the prohibition on age discrimination. Importantly, the Government proposes no specific exceptions to the ban on age discrimination in the provision of health and social care services, suggesting that it is likely that most age-based practices in the NHS will need to be objectively justified, with some limited exceptions, such as providing flu jabs for patients in certain age groups.
The Government is looking to legislate with effect from April 2012 and once this happens, the grand vision of the Equality Act 2010, which is to provide a unified anti-discrimination regime across all sectors and strands, will be largely implemented.