MHF Patron Lord Kamlesh Patel has resigned from a key Department of Health role to push for an enquiry into the treatment of black patients by the mental health system.
Kamlesh, decribed by Community Care magazine as 'the architect of the government's mental health race equality initiative', said he was shocked by the findings of a survey by the Mental Health Act Commission, of which he is the chair, that highlighted different experiences of mental healthcare by ethnic groups. He has now stood down as director of the Department of Health's black and minority ethnic mental health programme to campaign for a national enquiry into a why so many people from ethnic minorities end up in the mental health system and why their experience of care is so bad.
In an interview with Community Care, he also criticised the implementation of Delivering Race Equality (DRE), a five-year plan to tackle inequalities in the mental health system that was overseen by the black and minority ethnic mental health programme. Kamlesh, who devised the plan, said he was proud of DRE but said it was unfortunate it was introduced last year during the NHS funding crisis. He told the magazine that race equality and mental health tended to drop off the agenda when 'the money runs out'.
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