Census supports Mind concerns over racism in the NHS
Posted Wednesday 7 December 2005
The Count me in* census provides alarming statistics backing up Mind's ongoing concerns that there are worryingly high levels of direct and institutional racism in the NHS. Seven years on from Rocky Bennett's death, the census reveals that Black men are 29 per cent more likely than average to be subjected to control and restraint.
Sophie Corlett, Mind's Director of Policy says: "Black people have similar rates of common mental health problems as other ethnic groups - and yet this census shows that they are 44 per cent more likely to be sectioned under the Mental Health Act. The Government must listen to the evidence, and change the draft Mental Health Bill which clearly will have particular impact on Black people, and currently creates rather than solves racial equality issues. The Government has so far failed to conduct proper racial equality impact assessments for the Bill - it is vital that they now work with the national Black and Minority Ethnic mental health network to produce these.
For some time, black service users have been telling us of the difference in their treatment. The census demands some urgent answers to what seems to be routine subjection of black people to more extreme measures than white people. Why are so many more coming to treatment via the criminal justice system, instead of receiving treatment when they first need it?
We welcome the census as a crucial part of the Government's 'Delivering Race Equality' drive, which must now lead to activity to address the issues, and we hope it will be continued on a rolling basis to ensure fullest information."
Notes to editors:
*Count Me In is the Healthcare Commission and Mental Health Act Commission's nationwide census of acute psychiatric inpatient wards, conducted on 31 March 2005, and is the first of its kind in England and Wales.