More psychological support needed for people with long term illnesses

26th March 2016

People with long-term physical illnesses suffer high rates of mental health problems, and would benefit more from integrated NHS services.

That is the view of the influential Kings Fund, an independent charity trying to improve healthcare in England. In a speciaI report it says there is limited support for the wider psychological aspects of physical health and illness, but better working together between physical and mental care would improve care and control costs.

It argues that poor physical health contributes to the most severe forms of mental illness which in turn lead to limited life expectancy. It also highlights poor management of medically unexplained symptoms

It says all health and care professionals have a part to play in taking a ‘whole person’ approach towards physical and mental health. Royal colleges and other bodies should continue working together to redesign curriculums so that all health professionals have a common foundation in mental as well as physical health.

The report says: “Failure to address these issues increases the cost of providing services and affects outcomes for patients. There is much that can be achieved within existing structures to bring together mental and physical care at the clinical level. But this needs to be supported by wider changes such as development and evaluation of new service models, changes to professional education and increased use of new payment systems."

The King's Fund helps to shape policy and practice through research and analysis.

Full report, see here