In a recent blog post, Helen Gilburt, Fellow, Health Policy at The King’s Fund, explores what needs to happen to achieve parity of esteem between physical and mental health services.
At a recent event on Transforming mental health in London, held at The King’s Fund, Geraldine Strathdee, NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Mental Health, identified achieving parity of esteem between physical and mental health services as a national priority. She was of course referring to the NHS Mandate that there should be measurable progress towards achieving this parity by 2015. However, a recent survey of practitioners, providers and commissioners conducted on behalf of the Health Service Journal (HSJ) concluded that, while attitudes within the NHS are in keeping with parity, practice is ‘not even close’. What needs to happen to change this?
The link between poor physical health, mental illness and mortality is not new and was made as far back as 1991 in a Canadian study by Newman and Bland. Despite numerous recommendations since then on how to tackle the issue, implementation has been poor or limited. Take, for example, the recommendation that routine physical health checks should be undertaken to monitor cardiovascular risk in people with schizophrenia. This formed part of the original NICE guidelines for schizophrenia in 2006 but, due to lack of implementation, is reiterated again in the recommendations of the Schizophrenia Commission in 2012. Given the strength of evidence presented by expert groups the question remains, why is implementation so slow?
Read more on Helen’s blog Achieving equitable outcomes between mental and physical health: how can we make change happen?