Guidance on race equality in mental health needs more work, says The King's Fund

The King's Fund today welcomed proposed guidance on ensuring race equality in mental health services, but said that it needed more work to address adequately the problems faced by mental health service users from Black and minority ethnic communities.

Responding to the Department of Health's consultation on delivering race equality in mental health services, The King's Fund chief executive Niall Dickson said:

'It's important that services are aware of their statutory responsibilities under race relations legislation. The framework, as drafted, should change systems for the better, but it needs to address more fully the single most fundamental challenge - changing people's attitudes towards delivering race equality. It also fails to take into account the current problems facing primary care trusts in commissioning services for people from black and minority ethnic communities."

The King's Fund's response calls for the framework to:

  • ensure that services do not think that meeting the statutory requirements of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 is all they need to do to promote race equality in mental health services
  • encourage statutory services to commit long-term support to the Black and minority ethnic voluntary sector, to build capacity in delivering culturally appropriate services
  • set out the variety of communities that fall within the 'black and minority ethnic' umbrella, and warn services that they should not assume the same level or type of provision is suitable for all communities
  • have its impact reviewed in no more than three years' time, rather than the proposed six year timetable.

Notes to editors: 

1. Delivering Race Equality: A Framework for Action: mental health services' consultation document, Department of Health, October 2003.

2. For further information or interviews, please contact Michael Moruzzi in The King's Fund media and public relations office on 020 7307 2585, or Daniel Reynolds on 020 7307 2581 or 07831 554927.