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Guidelines aim to transform physical well-being of patients with severe mental health illness

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By Angela Sharda
9 February 2018

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New guidelines have been published to help commissioners transform the lives of 280,000 people with severe mental illness.

NHS England’s guidance for CCGs to improve outcomes  for  280,000 people with severe mental health illness (SMI)  by 2020-21 as part of the five year  forward view for mental health.

New guidelines have been published to help commissioners transform the lives of 280,000 people with severe mental illness.

NHS England’s guidance for CCGs to improve outcomes  for  280,000 people with severe mental health illness (SMI)  by 2020-21 as part of the five year  forward view for mental health.

The moves are expected to save £108m in costs for physical healthcare by 2020-21 for people with SMI whose life expectancy is 15 to 20 years lower than the rest of the population.

They are 40% more likely to smoke and have double the risk of obesity and diabetes.

This group also has three times the risk of hypertension and metabolic syndrome and five times the risk of  an imbalance of lipids in the bloodstream.

They are also  ‘not consistently being offered appropriate or timely physical health assessments despite their higher risk of poor physical health. They are not being supported to use available health information and advice or to take up tests and interventions that reduce the risk of preventable health conditions,’ said NHS England.

It wants to double the number of patients with SMI who get a full annual physical assessment and follow up from 140,000 in 2017-18 to 280,000 by 2018-19 and increase the amount registered with a GP to 60% by the same time.

The guidance said commissioners should  look at the best way to improve health outcomes for patients locally. This could be a Local Enhanced Service or an enhanced primary care mental health serviced from a secondary provider.

They should also ‘develop and promote clinical leadership and collaborative working between provider organisations, such as through appointing a clinical GP mental health lead within primary care to liaise with the physical health leads within secondary mental health services’.

Commissioners are also advised to ensure they have the right workforce and training to help patients.

CCGs also need to monitor the delivery of crucial personalised care planning to help people with SMI change their lifestyle and behaviour  to improve their physical health.

This could involve integrated personal commissioning so people  ‘with the most complex physical and mental health needs’ get co-ordinated care and follow up over 12 months,.

NHS England said  commissioners could use the support of voluntary sector organisations, with peer supporters who can help reduce any barriers to patients accessing the care.

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