Supporting improved physical health care in Lancashire

ContactLorna McGlynn, Adult Mental Health Network and Quality Development Lead, Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust
Telephone01282 657816
AddressBalladen House, Rawtenstall, Lancashire, BB4 6NE

Supporting improved physical health care in LancashireLancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust (LCFT) Adult Mental Health Network and Quality Development Lead conducted a scoping exercise in order to identify a physical health check that would assist in reducing health inequalities.

The Rethink Physical Health Check tool (PHC), which is a robust physical health checklist, was identified as it aids the exploration of Service User’s physical health and wellbeing and opens up communication channels regarding physical health between the Service User and mental health practitioners.

Following consultation with Rethink Mental Illness, the Trust took the decision was taken to implement and use the PHC tool within all the Complex Care and Treatment teams and Recovery teams, following a pilot within East Lancashire’s Recovery Team. It was felt that completion of the PHC would complement the GP’s annual physical health checks.

Staff in every Community Mental Health Team was tasked with offering the opportunity to complete the tool with all Service Users (irrespective of their diagnosis) alongside the Liverpool University Neuroleptic Side Effect Rating Scale (LUNSERS). Results from the completed tool were then fed back to the Service User and their General Practitioner and actioned as required.
In order to ensure effective implementation of the PHC tool the following actions were taken;-

  • All teams were visited by the Project Lead to explain the project
  • All teams were provided access to the Rethink online training
  • A physical health support group was established for all staff who delivered physical health interventions in order to created consistency, ensure best practice and to share good practice
  • Pathways were developed
  • The Social Care Lead developed formal guidance for social care staff
  • In April 2013, the PHC was incorporated into the Trust’s electronic care records. This allowed for better recording and reporting on physical health needs.

The Trust collected data from the physical health checks it undertook in 2011/12 and 2012/13. These showed a 30% decrease in previously unidentified health needs in the latest round of checks.

The results demonstrated that by completing the PHCs significant improvements have been made in service users’ physical health needs. The PHCs appear to be complementing and enhancing GP interventions by identifying previously undiscovered health needs which are now being addressed by the appropriate health professionals.

Through mental health services taking a proactive approach in supporting improved physical health care for service users, it is hoped a reduction in health inequalities experienced by people with mental health problems will occur.