NHS managers must work harder to improve mental health services for black and minority ethnic groups, the Healthcare Commission has urged.

It also calls for "renewed and strenuous" efforts to improve provision of single sex inpatient wards.

The demands are among a series of recommendations stemming from the Count Me In census, published today, which records numbers of inpatients in mental health and learning disability services and gathers ethnic data for these patients.

It shows there has been no reduction in admission, detention and seclusion rates among black and minority ethnic groups.

This was a goal of the government's five-year action plan on delivering race equality in mental healthcare, published in 2005.

Mixed sex wards

And 68 per cent of patients - the same as in last year's census - are being cared for on mixed sex wards.

The report states: "Overall, there is considerable room for improvement in the provision of single sex wards in both mental health and learning disability services.

"Commissioners and providers of mental health and learning disability services need to address this as a matter of high priority."

Demographic change

It also calls on commissioners and providers to "take into consideration the changing demographic profile of local populations".

It adds: "We expect commissioners and providers of mental healthcare, both in the NHS and the independent sector, to have fully comprehensive systems to record and monitor ethnicity.

"In the same way, it is also vital that learning disability services have accurate and sustainable ethnic monitoring arrangements in place."

Early intervention

National delivering race equality director Melba Wilson said: "The census's findings underscored the importance of the DRE programme continuing to work with commissioners and providers to improve services.

"A key element is to maintain a focus on early intervention in better managing the pathways of care of people from black and minority ethnic communities."

More on the Count Me In census