As November arrives the poppies come out. They can be seen on lapels and jackets across Britain. They represent the flowers which bloomed on Flanders Fields following the bloodshed of World War I. Continue reading
A new campaign lead by Norman Lamb is demanding equality in the treatment of mental and physical health. The former Liberal Democrat health minister has drafted an open letter to the government which highlights a lack of services, long waiting times and inadequate crisis care.
A report published this morning shows people suffering from mental ill health are significantly more likely to require emergency care services in hospital.
The research, which looked at 100 million hospital episodes in England per year for five years, suggests much more needs to be done to care for the physical health of those who have or are suffering from mental health problems.
The report by the Nuffield Trust, an independent health think tank, shows people with mental problems had 4.9 times more emergency hospital admissions and 3.2 times more A&E attendances compared with people without mental ill health. However only a fifth of the emergency admissions this group experience were explicitly for mental health needs. They also had 10% less planned admissions.
When assessing how well someones healthcare needs are met it can be useful to look at how much emergency care they receive compared to the amount which is planned in advance. This can indicate how well problems are being foreseen, how quickly and how effectively they are treated.
Commenting on the findings Felicity Dormon, Senior Policy Fellow at the Health Foundation said: “It is deeply unfair that the physical health needs of people with mental health problems continue to be poorly met.”
Felicity added that the report sets a challenge to policy makers who must think seriously about how to overcome the disparity highlighted in the report.
This report builds on the existing knowledge that those among us with both severe and common mental health problems are more likely to suffer from other physical conditions. This research demonstrates the needs improve the integration of mental and physical healthcare, both economically (as emergency treatment is expensive) and of course for the benefit of the victims.
Featured image accredited to Jaggery