The College has supported this report with input on medicines management
Please see the attached link. Dr Dave Branford coordinated the CMHP input to this landmark report.
The report, Whole-Person Care: From Rhetoric to Reality, defines parity as valuing mental health equally with physical health. It highlights the significant inequalities that exist between physical and mental health care, including preventable premature deaths, lower treatment rates for mental health conditions and an underfunding of mental healthcare relative to the scale and impact of mental health problems.
It also highlights the strong relationship between mental health and physical health. Poor mental health is associated with a greater risk of physical health problems, and poor physical health is associated with a greater risk of mental health problems.
Professor Sue Bailey, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: "Much has been done to improve mental health in the last 10 years but it still does not receive the same attention as physical health, and the consequences can be serious. People with severe mental illness have a reduced life expectancy of 15-20 years, yet the majority of reasons for this are avoidable. Achieving parity of esteem for mental health is everybody’s business and responsibility. I therefore urge the government, policy-makers, service commissioners and providers, professionals and the public to always think in terms of the whole person – body and mind – and to apply a ‘parity test’ to all their activities and to their attitudes. This report is the first stage of an ongoing process over the next five to ten years, that will deliver parity for mental health and make whole-person care a reality."
The report makes a series of key recommendations for government, policy-makers and health professionals, as well as the new NHS structures coming into force on 1 April including the NHS Commissioning Board, Clinical Commissioning Groups and Public Health England. Recommendations include:
- The government and the NHS Commissioning Board should work together to give people equivalent levels of access to treatment for mental health problems as for physical health problems, agreed standards for waiting times, and agreed standards for emergency/crisis mental healthcare.
- Action to promote good mental health and to address mental health problems needs to start at the earliest stage of a person’s life and continue throughout the life course.
- Preventing premature mortality – there must be a major focus on improving the physical health of people with mental health problems. Public health programmes must include a focus on the mental health dimension of issues commonly considered as physical health concerns, such as smoking, obesity and substance misuse.
- Commissioners need to regard liaison doctors (who work across physical and mental healthcare) as an absolute necessity rather than an optional luxury. NHS and social care commissioners should commission liaison psychiatry and liaison physician services to drive a whole-person, integrated approach to healthcare in acute, secure, primary care and community settings, for all ages.
- Mental health services and mental health research must receive funding that reflects the prevalence of mental health problems and their cost to society. Mental illness is responsible for the largest proportion of the disease burden in the UK (22.8%), larger than that of cardiovascular disease (16.2%) or cancer (15.9%). However, only 11% of the NHS budget was spent on NHS services to treat mental health problems for all ages during 2010/11.
- Culture, attitudes and stigma – zero-tolerance policies in relation to discriminatory attitudes or behaviours should be introduced in all health settings to help combat the stigma that is still attached to mental illness within medicine.
- Political and managerial leadership is required at all levels. There should be a mechanism at national level for driving a parity approach to relevant policy areas across government; all local councils should have a lead councillor for mental health; all providers of specialist mental health services should have a board-level lead for physical health and all providers of physical healthcare services should have a board-level lead for mental health.
- The General Medical Council (GMC) and Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) should consider how medical and nursing study and training could give greater emphasis to mental health. Mental and physical health should be integrated within undergraduate medical education.
The College was asked to produce the report by the Department of Health and the NHS Commissioning Board Authority following a request from the Minister for Care Services.
Norman Lamb, Minister for Care and Support, said: "I have made it clear that our goal – and that of the health and care system – is to make sure that mental health has equal priority with physical health. I am delighted that Professor Bailey has been able to bring so many experts together to consider how we might do this, and to produce a report which challenges all of us to think about the contribution we can make. It is very encouraging to see that a number of organisations have made specific commitments to put mental health on a par with physical health as part of this work. I will consider these findings and recommendations carefully to think through what more the Government can do. I would urge others in the health and care system to do the same."
Thank-you from CMHP Council