Improving the physical health of patients with serious mental illness

NHS England is committed to leading work to reduce the premature mortality among people living with severe mental illness (SMI).

Guidance to improve the quality of physical health care for people with SMI in primary care has been published to help ensure that at least 280,000 people with SMI have their physical health needs met from 2018/19 onwards, and therefore face reduced risk from preventable serious illnesses, including cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

Improving Physical Healthcare for People with SMI details the action and collaboration required by commissioners and amongst providers in primary and secondary care to improve access to and the quality of physical health checks and ensure appropriate follow-up care is given. Positive practice examples and tools can be found in the supporting annexes.

A practical toolkit for mental health trusts and commissioners is available to help providers and commissioners improve the physical health of patients with serious mental illness in secondary care. The toolkit looks at different approaches to implementing the Lester screening tool

NHS England has worked with staff and patients in four mental health trusts to improve the cardiovascular (CVD) health outcomes and reduce premature mortality in people with serious mental illness. CVD is the biggest cause of death in this patient group. The toolkit builds on the findings from this project and shares materials from the four pilot sites that other trusts can build on and adapt for their own use locally.

The project was independently evaluated by the Royal College of Psychiatrists which found that: