Passage of Mental Health Bill condemned by race equality campaigners

Passage of Mental Health Bill condemned by race equality campaigners

The troubled mental health Bill is now due to for royal assent afer after being rushed back to the House of Commons for the final time on Wednesday evening, race equality campaigners have learned.

The news comes a lobbyists were planning for a final push to see race equality principles added to the face of the Bill.

This latest development has meant that calls by practitioners, church leaders and human rights groups to see legislation which addresses the widespread racism within mental health services has been completely sidelined.

Viewed in many quarters as a missed opportunity bring mental health legislation in line with the needs of multicultural Britain. Health campaigners and faith leaders are united in condemnation of manures by the Government which have exclude their concerns.

‘Only last week we were in discussions with a health Minister to see a statutory right to advocacy at the point when detention is being considered. This would have meant a lot of people especially from our communities would not be sectioned at all. The Government have a way of rushing through Bills that are contentious which is a despotically way of doing things. This is very unfair not only for stakeholders whose views have effectively been sidelined, but also service users – in the days, weeks and years to come the true test of the Bill be seen. We will continue to push for equitable change as we see first hand the damage that has been done in our community .’ Pastor Ade Omoba of Coherent and Cohesive Coherent Voice said.

‘It shows once again that marginalised communities are often ignored by central Government. I would have liked to have seen race equality principles added to the face on the Bill that we have seen on other legislation to ensure that marginalised people are not discriminated against.

‘Its very disappointing after such limited consulting they have pushed this Bill through and there has been disregard of the views of key stakeholders, such as church leaders, who are often the ones who have to pick up the pieces of the lives of people who come in contact with the services.’ Pastor Desmond Hall, chair of Christians Together In Brent.’

‘The Government have missed the opportunity update mental health laws to meet the needs of a 21st century multicultural society. We would be looking a very different outcome if parliament had been given access to the comments of their own race advisory group who were responsible for overseeing the REIA (Race Equality Impact Assessment) of the Bill. They made it clear that the Bill as drafted will be discriminatory – but Parliament were not made aware of this.

Comments made by Lord Kamlesh Patel earlier this week that there will be a campaign for a judicial review of the Bill as soon as it receives royal assent need to be seriously considered in light of the adverse treatment meted black patients, when they come in contact with mental health services. While this is not good news, but we are used to having to fight to equality of treatment – there is no reason why should we stop now. Matilda MacAttram, director Black Mental Health UK

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