Suffolk MP Dr Dan Poulter has warned the government that it is detaining more people under mental health laws.

And an increasing proportion of those detained are from minority ethnic groups.

He made the points in the House of Commons while presenting the findings of an all-party group of MPs and Peers who had been behind the government's draft Mental Health Bill.

The Bill is aimed at updating mental health legislation for the first time in 40 years and the Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP, a practising NHS psychiatrist, helped lead the committee examining it.

The Bill introduces important reforms to improve patient choice and care, bringing down the number of detentions and reducing instances of racial inequality.

As part of its work, the committee considered the issue of rising detention rates under the Mental Health Act, alongside the fact that a disproportionate number of people from ethnic minority backgrounds are being detained.

The research revealed black people as four times more likely to be detained under the Mental Health Act than white people, and 11 times more likely to be given a Community Treatment Order.

Dr Poulter said “As a practising NHS mental health doctor, I broadly welcome the recommendations contained within this draft Bill and am pleased to have been tasked with making recommendations for further improvements to our mental health laws.

“This is the first time the Mental Health Act has been reviewed in 40 years and our committee has recommended important reforms to improve patient choice.

"Unfortunately, too many people with learning disabilities and autism are being detained in inappropriate mental health facilities, so changes to the way that the Mental Health Act works for these patients is long overdue.

“I hope that the Government now listens to our recommendations and acts swiftly to introduce the new mental health laws.”