A joint report published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has set out the ‘essential actions’ needed to improve the physical health of adults with severe mental illness across the NHS.
As well as the two organisations, the ‘Improving the physical health of adults with severe mental illness: essential actions’ report was also written in partnership with: the Royal Colleges of General Practitioners, Royal Pharmaceutical Society and Public Health England.
Practical recommendations are made throughout to help adults with serious mental illness (SMI) to receive the same standards of physical healthcare as the general population and reduce the risk of premature death, including:
- Infrastructure should be improved: e.g. systems for recognising acute illness; improved Information Technology to help with meeting current health-needs; better access to investigation results to help to improve standards of both physical and mental healthcare.
- Creating a new national steering group to lead and link key stakeholders with experts from the professions so that important aspects of physical healthcare are addressed and monitored at a national level.
- Training for healthcare staff should be reviewed to ensure healthcare professionals are equipped to fulfil the physical health needs of people with SMI, such as being able to recognise physical illness and take appropriate action.
- Each mental health service, acute hospital, general medical practice or GP federation should develop a physical health strategy for patients with SMI which is approved by the board and reviewed annually; they should also appoint a lead clinician at board level to be responsible for its implementation.
Professor Dame Sue Bailey, chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges commented on the report: “Health professionals should have the same ambitions for the physical health of people with severe mental illness as for the general population. The ambition of this report is to provide a focused programme of actions that can be taken across the system, from training to leadership and best practice in care provision, to reduce preventable premature mortality in this vulnerable group.”
Researchers claim the life expectancy of adults with SMI in 2016 is seriously behind, with 46 per cent of people with SMI having a long-term physical health condition and are at risk of losing on average 10-20 years of their lifespan.
To access the report, click here