Landmark survey finds ‘appalling’ levels of discrimination in care

Mental health services are providing an “appalling” level of care to black and mixed race in-patients, a government watchdog has found.

In the first survey of its kind, the Mental Health Act Commission looked at 425 service users and found that a third of black people said they had faced discrimination because of race and more than three times as many black patients than white patients believed nurses were rarely or never helpful.

Mixed race patients were twice as likely to say their psychiatrist was rarely or never friendly compared with white patients. Black and mixed race patients were also more likely to have been restrained during their current stay in hospital or have experienced unwanted sexual advances from staff than all other groups.

While 60 per cent of white and 59 of Asian patients had their treatment plan well explained on admission, only 41 per cent of black patients believed the same.

The survey follows the commission’s mental health and ethnicity census, which last year found black people were three times more likely to be admitted to psychiatric hospitals in England and Wales than the rest of the population.

Commission chair Kamlesh Patel said the results added weight to his call for an inquiry into the number of ethnic minority patients in the mental health system and their experiences.

He said: “It’s not just about numbers. This survey says they are receiving appalling care.”

Contact the author
 Simeon Brody

Count Me In: The National Mental Health and Ethnicity Census 2005 Service User



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