Making the Case for integrating mental and physical health care

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The Strategy Unit (part of Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit) has been commissioned by NHS England to provide tailored reports to each Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) in the country.

The reports, ‘Making the Case for integrating mental and physical health care’, set out an analysis of the physical health of people who use mental health services: life expectancy, acute service use and the potential for improving quality and using resources more efficiently.

The reports will be published online before the end of April 2017 and will be openly accessible to all. The analysis is intended to support STPs to develop key priorities identified in the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health.

Director of the Strategy Unit, Peter Spilsbury, said: “This report is important. Using newly linked national data and novel analysis, it  unpacks for each STP area one of the biggest yet least spoken about health gaps facing our society - the gap between the physical health and life expectancy of those in contact with mental health services and the rest of the population.

“We combine the analysis with the evidence that is available about ways in which this issue might be best addressed. The intention is to provide each STP with a bespoke high quality, analytically robust baseline that we hope will be a rallying call for further action.”

The report was piloted with the Black Country STP. Andy Williams, Accountable Officer, Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group, Lead Officer, Black Country STP said: “The Black Country STP has been an early adopter of this important study by the Strategy Unit.

“We saw its potential to inspire a transformation of our response to the physical health needs of mental health service users so we commissioned an earlier version to inform the development of our plan.

“Some of the differentials in both health outcomes and health service utilisation are eye openings, but we have been able to use these findings (and the summary of the evidence base provided) to begin building a broad coalition of local partners to identify and implement practical changes.

“I commend it enthusiastically to colleagues as a catalyst for much needed change.”

Dr David Hegarty-GP; Chair, Black Country STP Clinical Reference Group said: “The headlines from this remarkable report are overwhelming.

“The sad fact is that we have a shocking position that cannot be allowed to remain unaddressed. This report is vitally important and a powerful call to action. For us it has defined a new high priority work stream.”

For more information, visit the HSJ website

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