racism in mental health' says minister
by Mike George
mental health minister Rosie Winterton today promised to end race
inequalities in services. Her pledge followed a report revealing
that black people are three times more likely to be admitted to
psychiatric hospital and up to 44% more likely to be compulsory
The report, entitled Count Me In
produced by the Healthcare Commission and the Mental Health Act
details the results of a
March ethnicity census of acute psychiatric inpatient wards in England
census covered almost 34,000 mental health inpatients using services
provided by all 102 eligible NHS trusts and 110 independent providers
in England and Wales.
Ms Winterton described Count Me
In as “a vital building block towards our aim of eliminating
inequalities in mental health services.”
January the government launched a five-year race equality action
plan in a bid to eradicate racism in mental health services.
plan included a pledge to improve race equality training for mental
health staff. Seventeen strategic health authorities have also been
asked by the government to set up non-discriminatory mental health
Ms Winterton said: “I know
that many services around the country are improving the care they
provide for ethnic minority communities and I am confident that
we have started to build the sort of service that can make the inequalities
that the census confirms a thing of the past."
Campaigners have concerns, however, that NHS trusts do not have
the funds to deliver long-lasting change.
Angela Greatley, chief executive of the Sainsbury Centre for Mental
Health, said mental health services “face an uphill task to
deliver race equality".
She said: "The
government’s delivering race equality action plan is a bold
and ambitious attempt to put this injustice right. But it will only
work if there is concerted action, backed up with new investment,
to help those trusts with the biggest problems.
She added that government plans
for a new mental health law – outlined in a draft mental health
bill – should contain a race equality assessment.
"It is vital that there are clear lines of accountability for
achieving change over time," she said.
"The inequalities laid
bare today must be a cue for action and not become accepted as routine
The Healthcare Commission and the Mental
Health Act Commission's Count Me report (pdf)
June 22, 2005: Voices for change - a project in Bradford is
leading the way in providing community mental health services for
black and ethnic minority people. Adam James reports
June 1, 2005: A way with the anti-racist will?
In a bid to root out racism in mental health services the government
has launched a raft of initiatives. But will they be enough? Adam
4, 2005: Planned services heralded to be "hothouses of reform"
in rooting out racism in mental health - announcement of new
projects comes on heels of census to establish extent of discrimination
against black and minority ethnic patients in NHS and private hospitals
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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