Mental Health

15.05.18

Mental and physical health pilot cuts A&E admissions by two-thirds

A pilot scheme that integrates mental and physical treatments has improved mental health care for patients with physical ailments and, as a result, has cut hospital admissions by three-quarters, according to NHS England.

Since 2016, the NHS has been testing new services as part of its Improving Access to Talking Therapies programme.

Those with long-term health issues are now routinely given a ‘whole-person assessment’, focusing on what additional mental health care they may need to manage their condition.

The health authority says that helping people to cope with the pain and stress of physical health symptoms can make them better able to manage their condition in the long-term, resulting in improved health and reduced demand for health and care services.

Early results from one site in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough showed that timely and effective mental health care for people with diabetes, cardiovascular or respiratory illnesses have reduced A&E admissions by two-thirds, freeing up £200,000 of NHS funding.

Additional psychological wellbeing workers have been recruited and trained in Sunderland to help people manage long-term conditions, and patients are offered a Managing Pain class to combine physical care and mental health therapy.

The programme is being rolled out across the country and 3,000 mental health therapists are being placed into GP surgeries.

The Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme, described as “the world’s most ambitious effort to treat depression,” has delivered a record high recovery rates for patients earlier this year.

Claire Murdoch, NHS England national director of mental health, said: “Effective NHS mental health care for people with long-term illness is a game-changer for our patients and good news for taxpayers.

“By integrating talking therapies with treatment for diabetes and heart conditions, NHS patients get care for mind and body at the same time.”

She highlighted the effect that a chronic condition can have on a person’s mood, which can sometimes lead to “serious mental ill health.”

People with a physical health condition are more likely to experience mental ill health, with one in three of those diagnosed experiencing a mental health problem.

Mental health problems can make it harder to tackle physical conditions as well as costing the health service around 50% more if left untreated.

NHS England says that offering access to physical activity alongside talking therapies is therefore beneficial to patients and can save taxpayers money.

 

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