to be "hothouses of reform" in rooting out racism in mental
by Adam James
strategic health authorities across England have been asked by the
government to lead the way in rooting out racial discrimination
in mental health services.
authorities are to be "hothouses of reform" and to pioneer
best practice projects, Health Minister Rosie Winterton said.
established, the details of these 17 new anti-discriminatory projects
will be spread to other mental health services across the NHS, said
announcement came on the heels of the launch of the first census
- called Count Me In - of mental health units to establish the extent
of discrimination against black and minority ethnic patients throughout
the NHS and private hospitals in England and Wales.
Commission inspectors will examine the ethnic and religious characteristics
of all in-patients and their experience of seclusion or injury while
on hospital premises.
census, launched last week, followed allegations of institutional
racism in mental health services made last year by Sir John Blofeld,
a retired high court judge, after an investigation into the death
of David "Rocky" Bennett.
Bennett, a 38-year-old Jamaican-born Rastafarian, died in Norwich
in 1998 after being held face down on the floor for 28 minutes by
at least four mental health nurses.
judge blamed the Department of Health for the poor standard of treatment,
describing the problem as a "festering abscess" and a
"blot on the good name of the NHS".
have acknowledged that people from black and minority ethnic communities
were less likely to come forward voluntarily for mental health treatment,
more likely to stay longer as inpatients and more likely to be prescribed
medication or electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) instead of psychological
surveys suggested young Afro-Caribbean men were between two and
eight times more likely than their white contemporaries to be sectioned
under the Mental Health Act.
census is designed to establish more precise statistics.
In a action plan - entitled Delivering Race Equality in Mental Health
Care - launched in January the government promised to reduce the
disproportionate rates of admission, compulsory detention and seclusion
of black and minority ethnic patients.
Winterton said the 17 new anti-discriminatory projects will support
the implementation of the five-year action plan.
Race Equality is a clear and comprehensive action plan for making
sure that progress continues and accelerates.
sites are the next steps towards making it happen on the ground,
and I hope that they will be a valuable source of best practice
and support for the rest of the NHS."
17 strategic health authorities asked by the government to establish
the non-discriminatory projects by the end of May are:
* Northumberland, Tyne & Wear
* County Durham & Tees Valley
* South Yorkshire
Northamptonshire & Rutland
* Bedfordshire & Hertfordshire
* South East London
* North East London
* North Central London
* North West London
* Hampshire & Isle of Wight
* South West Peninsula
* Dorset & Somerset
* Birmingham & the Black Country
* Greater Manchester.
11, 2005: We'll cut rate that black and ethnic minority people are
detained in psychiatric hospital, vow ministers - promise unveiled
in government five-year anti-racist action plan for mental health
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