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South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust commit to reduce ethnic inequalities in mental health care

Thursday, August 06, 2020

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust has declared its commitment to reduce ethnic inequalities in mental health care as part of a UK national pledge. 

A ‘Statement of Intent’, the pledge is spearheaded by the Synergi Collaborative Centre in response to the lack of progress made over the past 30 years to tackle ethnic inequalities for those diagnosed with a severe mental illness, and the disproportionate risks Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities face in mental health services.

The Trust is among the first 30 signatories who have declared commitment to take action. 

David Bradley, Chief Executive of South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Having been involved in the work across South West London for many years, and seen at first hand the experience that BAME communities have in getting equal access to mental health services, I think that the seven commitments are what all leaders should be following. It is especially relevant at this time as Covid-19 has really shown that such communities are impacted harder, and we know that good mental health is a key factor in recovery.”

Against the backdrop of George Floyd’s killing, the Black Lives Matter anti-racist protests worldwide, and the systemic inequalities highlighted by Covid-19, CEOs, medical and nursing directors of NHS Mental Health Trusts, commissioners and public bodies (as pledge signatories) have pledged to: 

1. Initiate fundamental service level changes to reduce ethnic inequalities in access, experience and outcomes.
2. Measure, monitor and report the nature and extent of ethnic inequalities and progress made.
3. Work in partnership with local BAME communities, service users and relevant community agencies.
4. Provide national leadership on this critical issue.
5. Ensure inclusive and sustainable change in our localities and communities.
6. Support timely and progressive research and policy development.
7. Contribute to a biannual progress update as part of this Statement of Intent.

Kamaldeep Bhui, Synergi’s Director and Professor of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, said: “I’m delighted as Director of the Synergi Collaborative Centre to launch this powerful alliance between the NHS, local government, charity providers and BAME community groups in a national movement to transform mental health systems, to be less institutionally racist, more enabling, thoughtful and inclusive; one that respects the workforce and acknowledges that all people need health care in the NHS.” 

CEOs, medical and nursing directors of NHS mental health trusts, commissioners and public bodies who are interested in signing up to the pledge, will be expected to indicate how they plan to meet the seven pledge objectives, be willing to be part of a collaborative national network, and share good practice, challenges and progress every six months.

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