06 August 2020

The UK’s first national pledge for senior leaders in NHS mental health trusts, public bodies and commissioning to reduce ethnic inequalities in mental health care is launching this week.

Trust CEO Dr. Navina Evans CBE is one of the 30 leaders to declare their commitment to take action

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.

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) will take action to:

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


Supported by Consultant Psychiatrist Professor Sashi Sashidharan, Malik Gul, Director of Wandsworth Community Empowerment Network, and a range of NGOs, BAME community and service user-led organisations, including the National Survivor User Network (NSUN), the pledge is facilitated by Synergi’s Creative Spaces Network, which champions a systems approach to reduce ethnic inequalities in severe mental illness and improve experiences and outcomes.

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.”  

Dr Navina Evans CBE said:

"The Synergi Collaborative Centre’s call to all health care leaders is absolutely vital. 

"A collective pledge -  a commitment -  to improve the lives of our Black, Asian and minoirity ethnic communities is long overdue. 

"I’m proud of our record at ELFT. A lot has been done to challenge coercive practices. I am daily energised by the passion and commitment of so many of our staff, who are determined to keep on challenging practices that are, ultimately, discriminatory, and have to end.

"This call has gone out to health leaders everywhere, and I thank Synergi for this. Together we are saying: there is no going back now. We must dismantle all barriers standing in the way of racial equality."

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.

To find out more about The Synergi Collaborative Centre and to read the Pledge to Reduce Ethnic Inequalities In Mental Health Systems in full visit:

The Synergi Collaborative Centre.co.uk>>