Mind welcomes Government's commitment to 'Delivering Race Equality' but highlights concerns on key issues
Posted Tuesday 11 January 2005
Mental health charity Mind has today welcomed the guidelines issued by the Department of Health in the new 'Delivering Race Equality' document. However, while commending the Government's stated commitment to reducing racial discrimination in the NHS, the charity continues to highlight concerns over the potential lack of delivery on a number of key issues.
Mind's major concerns focus on the over use of control and restraint techniques in secure psychiatric settings. The new document pledges to prevent deaths following physical intervention; Mind wants to see these promises fulfilled. The charity is also calling for a reduction in the inappropriate use of the so-called 'chemical cosh'. There is a clear pattern of African Caribbean men who have died in secure psychiatric settings having been prescribed overly high doses of sedative medication.
The situation faced by many black and minority ethnic mental health service users in the NHS was highlighted by the tragic death of Rocky Bennett in 1998. Last year Mind urged the Government to implement the recommendations from the inquiry into his death. The case highlighted serious concerns about institutional racism in the NHS, and the over-representation of black and minority ethnic people in medium and secure psychiatric units.
Whilst recognising the document as an important step forward, Mind remains concerned over issues of accountability and commitments to a clear programme of delivery.
Richard Brook, Chief Executive of Mind, said today:
"Recent evidence from service users suggests that both direct and institutional racism is still at unacceptably high levels in the NHS. Whilst welcoming the focus on delivering change, we need to see a clear commitment to this at every level of the NHS.
We have outstanding concerns about how often control and restraint techniques are used against young black men, and about the appropriate use of medication in sedation.
We need a clear demonstration that words will be translated into action."