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Schizophrenia patients still undertreated for CHD

Mentally ill patients continue to be undertreated for coronary heart disease even since the new GP contract, a study reveals.

An analysis of nearly 500 practices in the UK found CHD patients with schizophrenia were 15 per cent less likely to receive statins and 7 per cent less likely to have their cholesterol measured than those without.

The study, of treatment levels in April 2005, adds to fears that difficult patients can slip through cracks in the quality and outcomes framework.

Study leader Professor Julia Hippisley-Cox, professor of clinical epidemiology and general practice at the University of Nottingham, said: 'While most CHD indicators are achieved equally for mentally ill patients, there's a shortfall in identifying and treating raised cholesterol in schizophrenia, despite the risks.'

Professor Helen Lester, professor of primary care at the National Primary Care Research and Development Centre, said the QOF last year had changed to include checks for blood pressure and cholesterol 'where indicated' in annual reviews.

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