Launch of first ever anti-racist framework for NHS Mental Health Trusts in England

Online news
30 October 2023

Today (Monday 30 October) marks the nationwide rollout of the first-ever anti-racist framework for patients and carers in NHS England’s mental health trusts.  

Placing patients and carers at the heart of culturally appropriate care, the Patient and Carer Race Equality Framework (PCREF) seeks to address health inequalities faced by patients from ethnic minority backgrounds, particularly Black patients—whose experience of mental health services is often worse than their white counterparts. This frequently results in worse health outcomes, deepening racial inequality.  

The PCREF is a race equity accountability framework initially developed following work by the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health (NCCMH), and the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act. It is recommended by the Review as a means to improve mental health access, experience and outcomes for people from racialised communities.  

Tom Ayers, Director of NCCMH, said: 

“Unfortunately, it is still the case that Black patients are four times as likely, and Asian patients twice as likely to be detained under the Mental Health Act, as white patients.  This is unacceptable.  

“As one of the driving forces behind the development of the PCREF, we are thrilled that this framework is set to be embedded across NHS mental health trusts, and mental health service providers, in England. We fully endorse its nationwide launch, which takes a crucial step towards reducing racial inequity within mental healthcare by helping address longstanding issues that impact access, experience, and outcomes for ethnic minority groups in mental health services. We believe this will help to ensure that these services will be fit for all patients, no matter their race or ethnicity. 

“NCCMH and the College have been working extensively in this area for a number of years, through our engagement with the Mental Health Act Review, our  Advancing Mental Health Equality (AMHE) Collaborative and our Equality Action Plan, believing firmly that meaningful change can only be achieved by working together with patients, carers and communities —even going so far as developing a resource on how to do just that.    

“This anti-racism framework also makes reference to our AMHE resource which was developed for the express purpose of tackling inequalities, including racial inequity in mental healthcare. We hope that by implementing this approach, the patient experience and outcome will ultimately benefit from its learnings. 

“The voices of patients, carers and those with lived experience, should be at the centre of this participatory framework’s rollout. Recognising the important role we play, we will work with them, alongside NHS England and providers of mental health care, to make this a reality.” 

The College is also supporting mental health organisations to address racism at a systemic and strategic level, having recently published ‘how to’ guidance for tackling racism in the workplace as part of its Act Against Racism campaign.  

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