Mind calls on Health Secretary to implement recommendations of Rocky Bennett Report
Posted Thursday 12 February 2004
Leading mental health charity Mind is urging the Government to back recommendations published today in the Independent Panel of Inquiry into the death of David 'Rocky' Bennett.
Mind's submission to the panel of inquiry highlighted widely reported institutional racism in our mental healthcare system. It also recommended a ban on the forced administering of dangerous doses of medication to patients as means of punishment and control.
Mind's Chief Executive, Richard Brook, said:
"We have been calling for the kind of action outlined in this report for years. If implemented, these measures could prevent injury and death to hundreds of vulnerable people in the care of the NHS.
At the very least we need to address the fact that young black men are routinely mis-diagnosed as schizophrenic. And we need to address the fact that a schizophrenia diagnosis far too often entails the inappropriate use of means of control and restraint resulting in injury or death.
Stephen Lawrence's death forced many public bodies to confront their own institutional racism over a decade ago. It is a disgrace that our mental health services are only now beginning to embark on the same journey."
Regarding specific recommendations made in the report, Richard Brook said:
"The proposed appointment of a black mental health czar is sounds good in theory. But the post should not be created in a way that either sidelines the racism issue or in a way that unburdens others of their explicit responsibilities. We need to ensure that we are not just window-dressing, but that real changes are made in every part of the mental health system.
Guidelines on the care and management of patients with schizophrenia are long overdue and clarifications over the use of restraint welcome."