Government rejects Bennett proposals

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

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 recommendations 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

The Department of Health said it did not consider the term
institutional racism to be useful. It preferred instead to talk
about “discrimination”.

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

“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 she considered the appointment of a
national director to be “essential”, but added that leadership from
the top needed to be backed by resources.

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