A new report, published by the King’s Fund, has highlighted that bringing mental and physical problems together could potentially save the NHS a substantial amount of money, while simultaneously improving patient outcomes. Collectively, it costs £11 billion each year to treat mental ill health for people with long term physical conditions, a figure the report states could be reduced dramatically with better integration of services.
The report, entitled ‘Bringing together physical and mental health: a new frontier for integrated care’, makes its case for greater integration of services by drawing attention to current challenges, such as ‘poor management’ of ‘medically unexplained symptoms’, ‘reduced life expectancy among people with severe forms of mental illness, attributable to poor physical health’ and ‘limited support for the wider aspects of physical health and illness.’
In addition, the King’s Fund outline 10 key areas where improvements can be made, including examples of innovative service models to redesign care so it will improve patient outcomes and may also be highly cost effective. Examples include enhanced support in primary care and integrated community or neighbourhood teams.