Mental health: Healthcare Commission wants compulsory reporting of ethnicity

The health watchdog today called for mandatory reporting of ethnicity for all patients using mental health services after a report revealed continued inequalities.

The 2006 national census of mental health in-patient services in England, published today by the Healthcare Commission, revealed that people from some black and minority ethnic groups were three times more likely than average to be admitted to mental health hospitals.

The finding remains unchanged since the 2005 census, as revealed earlier this month in a leaked copy of the report seen by Community Care.

The 2006 census also found that 55 per cent of in-patients were in mixed-sex wards, apparently contrary to a government claim in 2004 that all NHS trusts were providing single-sex wards for patients with planned admissions.

The commission’s chair, Ian Kennedy, called on the Department of Health to extend the mandatory recording of ethnicity that currently applies to inpatients to all users of mental health and learning difficulties services.

“Without this additional information we cannot effectively monitor the quality of care of black and minority ethnic groups on an ongoing basis,” he added.

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