Improving Physical Health for People with Mental Health Conditions
News and updates from today's conference chaired by Sean Duggan Chief Executive The Centre for Mental Health, and with an opening national update from Seamus Watson National Programme Manager - Mental Health Public Health England. Looking at delivering parity of esteem through learning from organisations that have succeeded in addressing the challenge of improving the physical health of people with mental health conditions, and meeting the national recommendation set out by the Mental Health Taskforce.
Where are we now? National overview of the health of people living with mental health problems
Seamus Watson National Programme Manager – mental health Public Health England
Seamus presented the national picture including statistics for the average life expectancy of those with serious mental illness.
He concluded listing the key national interventions for improving the health of people with mental health conditions as:
• Policy matters
• Addressing causes, and ill health
• Smoking cessation
• Access to regular health checks and interventions
• Access to population healthcare
• Intelligence and monitoring
• Staff ability and confidence
• Continued advocacy, leadership and innovation
Physical Health in SMI: The need for a National Nurse Training Programme
Sheila Hardy Senior Research Fellow, Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Honorary Senior Lecturer, UCL
Due to a combination of lifestyle factors and the side-effects of antipsychotic medication, there is a high incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) causing premature death in people with SMI (12 years for bipolar disorder and 19 years for schizophrenia). This group also have a high risk of other physical health problems. It is therefore necessary that these patients have an annual physical health check in order to identify risk factors for CVD and other conditions. A comprehensive physical health check carried out by a competent practitioner will also provide the opportunity to offer education regarding lifestyle and ask about other physical conditions.
The need for training
In primary care, a survey has shown that 38% of practice nurses would like training to carry out physical health checks for people with SMI, with many currently doing it without having had any training. In secondary care, over 80% of mental health nurses reported they would like training for the management of diabetes, cardiovascular health, and nutrition. Sixty-nine percent would like education about smoking and 67% reproductive health. A survey carried out on behalf of UCLPartners in March 2015 found 92% of mental health nurses wanted training in how to deliver a health check and 83% in how to monitor cardiovascular risk.
Recent reports where training for physical health care in mental illness are cited as important:
• Five Year Forward Plan for Mental Health, Mental Health Taskforce to the NHS in England, February 2016.
• Bringing together physical and mental health. King’s Fund, March 2016.
• Improving the physical health of people with mental health problems: Actions for mental health nurses. Department of Health, May 2016.
Training is available from dedicated individuals – this will be described during the presentation. There is currently no national training programme.
The role of liaison psychiatry in improving outcomes for people with physical and mental health conditions
Professor Tayyeb Tahir Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist, University Hospital of Wales
In his presentation Prof Tahir made the followign comments;
"In a liaison psychiatry profession pain is one of the main symptoms"
"We did some work with users and carers in hospital; they want to be listened to, different systems, more support from GP’s, continuity of care. These are patients with chronic pain.....so it’s not just about giving medication, it’s also about preparing patients for psychological intervention."
Also of interest:
Psychosis & Schizophrenia in Adults
Delivering Excellence in Recovery Oriented Services in Mental Health
Medically Unexplained Symptoms/Somatic Symptom Disorder
Smoking Cessation in Mental Health
Improving Mental Health Crisis Care: Maintaining Momentum
Psychological Therapies in the NHS
5 July 2016