Inquiry Into The Death Of David Bennett Social Work Essay

This essay aims to critically analyze the Sir John Blofeld inquiry study into the decease of David Bennett in 1998, through the subject of institutional racism. In order to accomplish this, I will give a brief background to the enquiry chaired by Blofeld in 2001. This will enable me to reflect upon the assorted facets of this peculiar instance and construct a context for the enquiry. I will look at account of grounds based pattern to societal work and seek to larn from the study in order to inform my ain pattern. The pick of the above subject reflects my belief in anti-oppressive and anti-discriminatory as a good societal work pattern.

Mr David Bennett was an African-Caribbean. He suffered from schizophrenic disorder. He had been having intervention for his mental unwellness for some 18 old ages before the day of the month of his decease. On that eventide, Mr David Bennett had been in an incident with another patient who was white. During that incident, each adult male struck out at the other. Mr David Bennett was besides the receiver of perennial racialist maltreatment from the other patient. After this incident, Mr David Bennett was moved to another ward. While in that ward he hit a nurse. He was so restrained by a figure of nurses and a battle developed. He was taken to the floor and placed in a prone place, face-down, on the floor. During the drawn-out battle that so continued he collapsed and died. The first portion of the Inquiry covers the whole period of Mr David Bennett ‘s unwellness, the events taking up to his decease and certain other events that took topographic point during the hours and yearss following his decease.

I will supply a definition of grounds based pattern. Evidence based pattern is “ the painstaking, expressed and wise usage of current best grounds in doing determinations about the attention of persons ” ( Newman et al 2005, P: 4 ) . It calls for determination devising that is considered instead than reactive. Therefore professional should be equipped with the cognition that will enable them to dispatch their duty efficaciously, and they must go on to larn, and put that acquisition in pattern. Decision devising at an single degree must besides be informed by professional opinion and confidant cognition of the client ‘s personal narrative. Evidence-based pattern can non present certainties merely increase chances ( Newman et al 2005 ) .

Inquiries have been important to raise society ‘s consciousness about societal jobs that disadvantaged groups of people face. For practicians, the studies of these enquiries have indentified some valuable lessons to be used to polish policies and mundane pattern. The findings from MacPherson study into the decease of Stephen Lawrence and the Ritchie Inquiry into the attention and intervention of Christopher Clunis found institutional racism in the mental wellness and constabulary. The same job identified by Blofeld enquiry into the decease of David Bennett.

Benefits of public enquiry, harmonizing to Brammer ( 2007, P: 291 ) , include its ability to “ determine the facts of the instance ; learn lessons for the hereafter and to run into public concern ” . Prior to the decease of Bennett, there had been a figure of deceases of BME people in psychiatric detention that had concerned the Institute of Race Relations. These included the decease of Orville Blackwood in Broadmoor Hospital in 1991 through to the decease of Veron Cowan at Blackberry Hill Hospital in Bristol in 1996 ( Athwal,2004 ) . The critical ambiances of enquiries and media attending lead to the belief that there was institutional racism. This put the activities of psychiatrics are normally under examination during public enquiries into the decease of BME and as a consequence, such enquiries have had an impact upon their morale in pattern.

I will now specify institutional racism. The definition set out in the Macpherson Report ( 1999 ) is:

“ Institutional racism is the corporate failure of an administration to supply an appropriate and professional service to people because of their coloring material, civilization or cultural beginning. It can be seen or detected in procedures, attitudes and behavior which sum to favoritism through unintentional bias, ignorance, inconsideration and racialist stereotyping, which disadvantage minority cultural people. ”

( Macpherson 1999 ) .

Institutional racism is a systematic set of forms, processs, patterns, and policies that operate within establishments so as to systematically punish, disadvantage, and exploit persons who are members of colored groups ( Better, 2002 ) .

Institutional racism in mental wellness infirmaries could be evidenced in a figure of ways. Failing to supply BME patients with an equal diagnosing, non supplying them with a coherent intervention program, non offering appropriate intervention and neglecting to run into demands are common illustrations. As Singh concludes:

“ Such failures occur repeatedly over many brushs with the services, and several clinicians separately and jointly lend to the hapless decision-making. These experiences are replicated nationally for patients from cultural minority groups. ” ( Singh, 2007, P: 363 ) .

In the instance of David Bennett enquiry 2003, all external experts agreed nem con that institutional racism exists in psychiatric services. In UK, racialist pattern is non openly or publically encouraged, harmonizing to Race and Relations Act. The populace is concerned with institutional racism ( the inequalities ) in mental wellness, and there is grounds that Black minority ethnic ( BME ) people are marginalised in mental wellness services.


When black people come into contact with professionals such as the head-shrinkers or wellness workers, they focus unsuitably on civilization, and ethnicity at the disbursal of sound clinical opinion and this is where BME Patients experience misdiagnosis and hapless wellness attention. In instance of David Bennett, his early contact with mental wellness services, the head-shrinker ( Dr Feggetter ) was dismissive and believed that his jobs were due to cannabis poisoning. From 1980 to 1985 professionals thought that it was his usage of hemp that was doing the job instead than this mental ill-health, but he was diagnosed subsequently as enduring from schizophrenic disorder. Therefore, the stereotypes can organize the footing of misdiagnosis. Pilgrim and Rogers ( 1999 ) are of the position that professionals appear to hold a limited capacity to recognize psychiatric upsets in black patients compared with other patients. Young black work forces are misdiagnosed by the mental system, which tends to run on the footing of limited or unequal cognition of black communities and utilizing stereotyped outlooks of immature black work forces ‘s behavior ( Fernando, 1998 ) .

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Treatment 300

Experts estimate that black people are three times more likely to be diagnosed as schizophrenic but less likely to be diagnosed with depression ( McKenzie 1999 ) . Besides, there is grounds that black work forces were more likely than others to be held in unafraid in-patient environments. Pilgrim ( 2005, P: 32 ) suggests that racial prejudices average black people are disproportionately dealt with by specializers mental wellness services, and as these services are characterised by coercive patterns, one could construe this as institutional racism. More so, on the clinical side of intervention, In relation to Bennett ‘s intervention at the Norvic Clinic, the study refers to actions by professionals which can be seen as driven by institutional racism. Dr Sagovsky related that Bennett was on a peculiarly high degree of anti-psychotic drugs as he was seen as particularly unsafe ( Bennett Report, 2003, P: 10 ) , a position that may hold been linked to Bennett ‘s physical visual aspect. Ultimately, this combination of drugs was described as ‘troubling ‘ ( Bennett Report, 2003, P: 26 ) by the enquiry, even if it could non be straight linked to Bennett ‘s decease

Sandhu ( 2007 ) argue that many people from BME backgrounds complain that mental wellness services focus chiefly on medicine care and control hence ; appropriate opportunities for recovery are limited. The diagnosing applied to the black patients were, nevertheless, significantly different from those applied to the white patients. A research by Littlewood and cross ( 1980, P: 121 ) found that stereotyped attitudes led to premises that ECT is suited for black patients than white patients.

Blackness and madness plus dangerousness. 220

In add-on to that, black patients are dealt with impartially in the psychiatric units, their degree of dangerousness is assessed objectively on the footing of information provided and likeliness of mental unwellness based on history. Bennett was a really athletic immature adult male, staffs were frightened of him. These misconceptions about black people that have besides become embedded in mental wellness patterns frequently combine to act upon the manner in which mental wellness services buttocks and respond to the demands of black people. Restraints

Brammer ( 2007, P: 467 ) is of the position that there is “ grounds that pattern race is considered an index for dangerousness in mental wellness field ” . Staff working with Bennett perceived his race as dangerousness, and so the staff had to utilize excessively much force to keep him, by traping him down for long ‘when they should non hold done so. To some beginnings ; it is a ‘serious failure of preparation ‘ that no clip bounds were given for the restraint of a individual in a prone place, but to others its racism. Fernando ( 2002 ) the dangerousness of a BME patient is determined by racial stereotypes of black people while other factors are ignored. This is institutional racism, how can race find dangerousness of patients. Fernando ( 2002 ) further high spots that the power of people working in mental wellness provide screen for racism to run undisputed. This denial of racism is common within administrations where it can be found. Collier ( 1999 ) suggests that:

“ The oddest thing about institutional racism is the sightlessness of the culprits. In a racialist administration hideous ideas and behaviors are acceptable and all seemingly without oppugning… .worse still the victims are caught excessively as they seem paralysed, unable or unwilling to protest in instance they suffer more. ”

Admissions 320

One manner in which institutional racism manifests itself is the over-representation of BME in mandatory admittance in psychiatric units. The count me in the nose count for England and Wales showed higher rates of admittance for mental unwellness and more inauspicious tracts to care for some BME groups and led to accusals of institutional racism within psychopathology. The keys issues identified in the Bennett study are common to discussion around BME communities and mental wellness, viz. the high degrees of compulsory detainment. As Patel and Heginbotham ( 2007, P: 367 ) write: “ Either there is an epidemic of mental unwellness among certain Black groups or there are earnestly distressing patterns that are taking to disproportional degrees of admittance ” .

A big figure of people from cultural minority are peculiarly likely to be detained under subdivision 136 Mental Health Act 1983, and there are a big figure of immature Afro-Caribbean males admitted under compulsory detainment into psychiatric infirmaries. About half of these Numberss were referred by the constabulary, tribunals of jurisprudence, societal workers and GP ‘s ( Browne 1997 ) . By 1990s, surveies reported that African Caribbean males were over-represented among those officially detained in ague in patients units, and they were besides up to 3 times more likely to be sectioned than their white opposite numbers. This supports the position that institutional racism is popular in mental wellness units. However, the determination to confine a patient is needfully preceded by patient ‘s refusal to accept aid on a voluntary footing. This is because some groups of people refuse aid from psychiatric services and sometimes are non- compliant. Therefore, construing institutional racism as the chief account for the surplus of detainments among cultural minorities adds small to debate and prevents the hunt for existent causes of these differences.

Cultural demands. 470

Institutional racism is about how administrations acknowledge the diverseness of their client base and run into their cultural demands.

The Bennett Report provided a figure of illustrations of how these demands were non met with Bennett. For illustration, Dr Stanley besides said that Bennett did non wear dreadlocks and yet she knew he was Rastafarian, and in most instances his spiritual beliefs and cultural were non mentioned through his meetings with different advisers. Staff within the system failed to understand that ignorance or inconsideration can take to a signifier of institutional racism merely every bit detrimental as open deliberate racism hence ; one fits with the Macpherson definition of enquiry.

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Further more, there is a wide-spread perceptual experience that mental wellness services do non hold sufficient apprehension of the complex and diverse spiritual, cultural and traditional demands of BME people and that this constitutes institutional racism as defined by Macpherson study. Dr Feggetter noted that Bennett ‘s cultural demands were non addressed, but patients were treated as human existences. There is a demand to handle each individual as an person instead than a group. Fernando ( 1986 ) shows how the effects of racism can ensue in depression through experience of rejection, loss and hopelessness. It may besides make a prejudice to depression through a feeling of hopelessness and inability to exert any control over external forces. Racial favoritism is an obvious cause of emphasis in the lives of people from the cultural communities, nevertheless, any policies and patterns steps to turn to the diverse demands of BME groups including suitably sensitive environments taking into history patient ‘s dietetic, spiritual and cultural backgrounds.

Sewell ( 2009 ) differences in civilization whatever it is, may take to existent differences in apprehension and communicating of certain experiences. It is critical to retrieve that there are some people within a BME group who may adhere to their cultural patterns while others may non.

Racial torments

The study argued that Bennett ‘s racial, cultural or societal demands were non met within the mental wellness system and that it failed to protect him from what were at times high degrees of racial maltreatment from other patients. Racial torment is a serious job, and it is of import that service suppliers should hold clear policies and processs to cover with inter-patients racial torment. The study stated that staff within the system failed to understand that ignorance or inconsideration can develop a signifier of institutional racism merely every bit detrimental as open deliberate racism. Another stating point in the study that can be seen as grounds of institutional racism is the determination that Bennett was “ a adult male who was treated at times with a grade of intolerance and at times as if he were a nuisance who had to be contained ” ( Bennett Report 2003, P:12 ) . In the events taking up to Bennett ‘s decease, staff failed to adequately turn to the sustained racial maltreatment that Bennett received from another patient and besides seemingly ignored Bennett ‘s ailments that he was a black adult male seeking to get by in a white environment.

Bennett was bound to experience acutely sensitive ‘ and peculiarly if their perceptual experience is that no action may be taken to forestall racialist maltreatment. What is relevant here is the point that institutional racism does non hold to affect direct racism by staff or members of an administration – it can every bit stem from an organizational failure to turn to racism that might come from other service users or clients.

Criticism of the subject

In this subdivision will look at the impact of institutional racism on the service user: This accusal of racism as an account for these findings is non productive, as It leads to several detrimental effects for the profession, cultural minority groups and most crucially for cultural minority patients. It is the psychopathology administration which is prejudiced but non single head-shrinkers. Therefore, we must concentrate on the implicit in grounds whatever those are, and seek to understand the multifunctional interconnected issues which lead to the cited high admittances and detainment rates for some groups in society.

The different rates might besides be a effect of favoritism and racism that cultural minority people face in Britain. It would non be surprising if the multiple exploitation that some are subjected to, led to mental hurt ( Hudson 1992, 4-5 ) . Thompson ( 2006, P: 80 ) asserts that BME people become mentally sick as a consequence of the systematic eroding of their capacity to cover with multiple subjugation. This explains why BME patients in psychiatric units become violent in the psychiatric units than when they were admitted. When we look at the instance of Bennett racial maltreatments from other patients and control agitated him.

Institutional racism Acts of the Apostless like a ego carry throughing prognostication by lending to misgiving of services by cultural minorities, thereby taking to detain aid seeking with increased usage of detainment and coercive interventions for cultural minority patients.

BMH ( 2009 ) agree that new skylines offers the chance to guarantee that the failures highlighted within the Bennett enquiry study are taken frontward and addressed through this new scheme. It goes onto suggest that there must be moves off from the medical theoretical account and acknowledging a disproportional figure of black patients into unafraid psychiatric scenes. The rights and wellness attention demands of BME are less likely to be taken earnestly than those of white clients.

A cardinal component of the authorities ‘s response to the Bennett Report has been the development of the Delivering Race Equality in Mental Health Care ( DRE ) which aims to accomplish equality and tackle favoritism for all BME mental wellness service users. Amongst the purposes of DRE are: a decrease in fright of mental wellness services among BME communities ; reduced rates of admittance of BME people to psychiatric inpatient units ; reduced rates of mandatory detainment for BME service users ; a more active function for BME communities and service users in preparation and development of mental wellness policy and ; the proviso of a mental wellness work force and administration capable of presenting appropriate and antiphonal mental wellness services to BME communities ( DOH, 2005 ) . DRE is a positive enterprise and is clearly aimed at uncluttering out any signifiers of institutional racism within mental wellness services.

Social work

Looking at the deductions of Bennett enquiry in relation to societal work pattern the key tools are to battle institutional racism within mental wellness services has to be the usage of anti-discriminatory pattern. This requires societal workers to understand that favoritism and subjugation are frequently cardinal to the state of affairss that they encounter ( Davies 2003 ) . Within the sphere of mental wellness, anti-discriminatory pattern entails traveling out of an ethnocentric frame of mention and taking history of the fact that we live in a multiethnic society. On a broad degree, justness, equality and engagement are of import constructs of anti-discriminatory pattern ( Davies 2003 ) .

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The codification of pattern requires that people to whom the Act is applied should be given regard for their qualities and diverse backgrounds as persons and be assured that history will be taken of their age, sex, gender, societal cultural cultural and spiritual backgrounds but that general premises will non be made on the footing of anyone of these features ( Ninth Biennial report1999-2001, P: 63 ) .

In mental wellness engagement might affect service users in the planning, coordination and rating of services to supply chances for authorization and to guarantee that services are culturally appropriate and antiphonal. To utilize the mental wellness codification of pattern 08 ‘participation ‘ rule that service user should be involved in planning, developing and reexamining their intervention. It was cited that professional working with Bennett did non affect him at all.

Authorization within mental wellness can besides mention to guaranting that BME service users are able to entree information about services and travel on to have such services. Ideas about working in partnership with service users are besides of import here – mentioning back to the Bennett study, there was small in the manner of working in partnership with Bennett during the clip of his unwellness and small grounds of authorization or anti-discriminatory pattern to seek and extinguish the elements of racism within service proviso ( Burke and Dalrymple, 2006 ) .

The GSCC Codes of Practice lay out ways in which both societal workers and direction can move to battle institutional racism. The codifications for societal workers province that they must utilize “ established procedures and processs to dispute and describe unsafe, opprobrious, prejudiced or exploitatory behavior and pattern ( 3.2 GSCC codifications of pattern ) and besides – crucially in disputing institutional racism. they must non excuse any improper or indefensible favoritism by service users, carers or co-workers. ( 5.6 GSCC codifications of pattern ) . Social attention employers must besides set up procedures under which societal workers can describe unsafe, prejudiced or opprobrious behavior and have methods to cover with these studies ( 4.2 GSCC codifications of pattern ) . Such procedures were clearly missing at the Norvic Clinic when Bennett was a patient and it is of import that administrations have channels for staff at all degrees to dispute any signifiers of racism by co-workers of service users. As indicated antecedently, societal workers working with BME service users with mental unwellness demand to hold an apprehension of cultural differences between this service user group and white people. They must besides handle BME service users and white service users in the same manner. For illustration a black adult male showing with possible mental unwellness may be speaking loudly – common symptoms of mental unwellness. However if a professional merely sees an angry black adult male there may be an wrong opinion that problem or jobs may follow and an inappropriate response might be the consequence. ( Bennett Report 2003, P: 48 ) .

Practitioners need to analyze their ain attitudes and inquire themselves whether their pattern shows any grounds of indirect favoritism, nevertheless anti-discriminatory they may experience that they are as an person. For illustration, do practicians misinterpret cultural differences as mental wellness symptoms, do they believe there is a nexus between in-migration and mental unwellness or could they be inherently racist and see some service users as presenting more of a hazard merely because they are non white? . The Bennett Report found that institutional racism existed within UK mental wellness services and there is still work required to extinguish this. Collier ( 1999 ) asserts, “ Institutional racism must be stamped out, but go forthing it to persons is non to be recommended. Mechanisms must be put in place to do the alteration corporate… nil less is unjust or impracticable ” This is the cardinal point – institutional racism is far bigger than the actions of a few persons and beyond the remit of persons to decide. Undertaking built-in institutional racism across a big administration demands big scale alteration over a period of clip. The recommendations of the Bennett Report have pointed the manner frontward and DRE looks to construct on this. Change to attitudes towards BME service users must be driven from the top downwards and be embedded in all countries of the administration. Advocate for service user who feels that they are wrongly detained in infirmary under MHA1983, inappropriate usage of power under MHA83 is a trap, for societal workers to fall into if they are non sufficiently cognizant of diverseness issues of psychopathology ( Thompson 2006 ) .

I have learned that I should be able to dispute racism, and should ever recognize and esteem diverseness when working with service users. I should endeavor to ever reflect on my pattern utilizing ain enterprises, involve service user ‘s and their households in explicating attention programs, be able to work as a squad member and go on to update myself in current guidelines, policies and processs and more so, work in anti-discriminatory and anti-oppressive mode.

In decision ; ‘Institutional racism ‘ could perchance explicate why BME higher prevalence within in-patient countries of the mental wellness service. On the other manus, it is clearly evident that institutional racism is still at big, what is needed here is a re-assessment of the mental wellness service, including new header schemes for persons from BME and support community broad. The dislocation of stereotyping will be necessary for both the medical professional and the wider community. It is clear that staff in mental wellness units have in the past neglected cultural values of ‘others ‘ .