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Mental Health Services: Ethnic Groups

Volume 458: debated on Monday 26 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health why the best practice guide Positive Steps: Supporting Race Equality in Mental Health Care of 21 February 2007 does not include the Irish as a specific category; and whether this practice is consistent with the categories recommended in the Department's guide to ethnic monitoring. (128176)

The Department is committed to the promotion of equality in the national health service, for staff, patients and the public. Delivering race equality (DRE) in mental health is a comprehensive five-year action plan for tackling racial inequality in mental health care.

The definition of black minority ethnic (BME) in the DRE action plan is used to refer to all minority ethnic groups in England. It does not only refer to skin colour but to people of all groups who may experience discrimination and disadvantage, such as those of Irish origin, Mediterranean origin and East Europe migrants.

Most of the Positive Steps guide is applicable to all these groups. The guide is intended to expand and develop over time. It currently includes information specific to two BME communities. Information on others, including the Irish, will be added shortly.