The Core Study



Healthcare Commission (2008) The Pathway to Recovery

All mental health providers should take steps to ensure that the physical health of people with mental illness is not overlooked, and that provision of healthcare is implemented and managed effectively. Appropriate access to healthcare and health promotion services should be available.30, 49 (p.37)

The standardised mortality ratio for people with severe ongoing mental illnesses is two and a half times greater than the national population average.71 People with conditions such as schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder are at increased risk of physical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, respiratory conditions, and infections.35,49 Guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) on depression and schizophrenia recommends that services make regular full assessments of service users' physical health.72, 73 These checks should be carried out when medication is prescribed, when it is being changed and to monitor any side effects. Once in hospital, the admission may be a good opportunity to reassess a person's physical health (especially in light of a treatment plan) and to reconcile the prescription of medication at the point of admission and discharge. On the day of their admission or as soon as they are well enough, the patient should receive a structured standard medical assessment that matches the assessment undertaken in the Quality and Outcomes Framework in the General Medical Services contract.36 In 2008, the Royal College of Psychiatrists' scoping group on physical health in mental health will be publishing service standards that will detail the range of physical health checks that should be conducted. (p.51)