Government rejects three Bennett inquiry recommendations

The government has rejected three of the key recommendations
from the independent inquiry into the death of David Bennett,
writes Katie Leason.

 It has failed to take on board the panel’s recommendation
that there should be ministerial acknowledgement of institutional
racism in mental health services.

It has also rejected the recommendation that patients should
never be restrained in a prone position for more than three
minutes, and that a national director for mental health and
ethnicity should be appointed.

The department of health said that it did not consider the term
institutional racism to be useful, and that it preferred instead to
talk about “discrimination”.

But Shahid Sardar, liaison officer for mental health charity
Mind said that the government should be “perfectly
capable” of accepting that there was institutional

“Ministerial acknowledgement would go some way to people
being able to draw a line under the current position and say now we
can actually deal with the issue,” he said.

Bennett’s sister, Joanna, said that she considered the
appointment of a national director to be “essential”,
but added that leadership from the top needed to be backed by


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