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GPs to get funding to boost health checks in people with serious mental illness

GP practices are to be offered funding to carry out health checks in people with severe mental illness (SMI), under plans for a new enhanced service aimed at cutting premature mortality in this group of patients.

The move is one of a raft of measures laid out by NHS England today on how it plans to implement the Five Year Forward View on mental health.

NHS England says it wants ‘280,000 more people having their physical health needs met by increasing early detection and expanding access to evidence-based physical care assessment and intervention each year’.

This will involve funding to ‘enable CCGs to offer NICE-recommended screening and access to physical care interventions to cover 30% of the population with SMI on the GP register in 2017/18, moving to 60% population from the following year’, the plans state.

The scheme will be based on a pilot enhanced service that has been running in North East London, the results of which ‘are soon to be published’, NHS England said.

It comes after mental health experts complained that people with SMI would miss out on annual checks on risk factors such as blood pressure and cholesterol, after a number of indicators were removed from the QOF.

The document also sets out goals to have at least 60% of people with first episode psychosis starting NICE recommended treatment within two weeks of referral, as well as increased access to psychological therapies for people with psychosis, bipolar disorder and personality disorder.

And it confirms plans laid out in the GP Forward View to get 3,000 more mental health therapists ‘co-located’ in primary care to deal with common mental health problems, alongside a major expansion of the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme, with a key focus on people with comorbid physical and mental health conditions or persistent medically unexplained symptoms.


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