Addressing the physical healthcare needs of mental health patients

Addressing the physical healthcare needs of mental health patients


This report is important. Using newly linked data and novel analysis it unpacks, for your STP area, one of the biggest yet least spoken about health gaps facing our society- the gap between the physical health and indeed the life expectancy of those in contact with mental health services and the rest of the population.

It is a gap you can do something about. A gap which requires the kind of integrated working that is at the essence of the STP approach.

What is the life expectancy gap between mental health and non mental health cohorts in your STP area?

In England, men with mental health disorders are estimated to live 18 years less than those without. For women, this gap is around 15 years and the figures vary substantially by STP locality.

How does life expectancy for mental health patients in your area differ to neighbouring or similar areas?

There is a difference of 8 years between the lowest and highest mental health life expectancies across STPs in England for both men and women. Organisational factors appear significant. Common causes of death for mental health service users do not mirror the rest of the population.

What proportion of your STP population are in contact with mental health services, and of those, which are using acute healthcare services?

Nationally around 7% of the whole population are in contact with mental health services. These patients however make up around 20% of urgent care service activity and a disproportionately high amount of diagnostics. Patterns vary significantly by STP

What are the opportunities for reducing utilisation of acute services for mental health patients in your STP?

When comparing the utilisation rates of mental health and non mental health patients, the ‘average’ STP could potentially save upto £1.2 million across A&E services and £14.7 million in inpatient spells.

What are the most cost-effective interventions for improving the physical health of mental health patients?

We have synthesised the evidence base to provide you with an account of the interventions which appear to work . Taken in conjunction with the quantification of the issues in your STP as set out in our report, this gives you the basis for a local conversation about practical actions which can both improve the lives of people with mental health issues whilst also freeing up poorly used resource for reinvestment in that improvement.

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We have recently completed a novel and detailed analysis of the life expectancy and physical healthcare utilisation of people in contact with mental health services in England using linked national datasets.

We have built our models so we can produce a bespoke report for any STP, using your data, not just national estimates. For STP footprint areas the work covers in detail:

  1. Comparison of life expectancy in your STP area to non-mental health cohorts AND other STP areas.
  2. A review of causes of mortality and relative use of hospital resources in your STP.
  3. Review and synthesis of the latest literature / evidence base for improving the patterns identified above.
  4. Modelling of the potential scale of benefit in your STP in bringing the experience of people in contact with MH services in line with the rest of the population.

Get the report

If you would like to know the detailed answers to these questions for your STP, the report is available to order at a fixed price (that covers development and bespoke production costs only).

Please contact: Peter Spilsbury (Director), The Strategy Unit on 07971 412240 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

‘The Strategy Unit are inspiring in their commitment, dedication to evidence and use of innovative analysis as a way to improve health and care’.
Professor Sir Bruce Keogh National Medical Director, NHS England

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