A scheme being tested by the NHS that considers the mental health of patients with long-term conditions is being hailed a success, having reduced related hospital admissions by some 75 percent.
People with a physical health condition are more likely than the rest of the population to experience mental ill health. According to NHS England, more than 16 million people in England are diagnosed with a long-term physical health condition, one in three of which will experience a mental health problem.
Since 2016, the NHS has been piloting new services that integrate mental and physical treatments, as part of its Improving Access to Talking Therapies programme.
New services are being rolled out across the country to ensure that people with long-term health issues like diabetes, heart problems or respiratory illness are routinely given a ‘whole-person assessment’, so that the additional mental health care they may need to manage their condition is also considered.
NHS England says early results from sites in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough show that timely and effective mental health care for people with such long-term conditions have resulted in a three-quarters reduction in inpatient hospital attendance and a two-thirds drop in A&E admissions, freeing up £200,000 of NHS funding.
Health providers in the area also recorded a 73 percent reduction in demand for GP appointments from people taking part in the trial.
“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,” noted NHS England national director of mental health, Claire Murdoch.