In England, the Mental Health Foundation stated that the shocking news of less mental health checkups is not surprising. Mental health usually becomes dominant over physical health even when both states should be observed and treated equally.
In Dorset, 1 in every 5 people having severe mental illnesses underwent a complete physical checkup last year. This could prevent the risk of early death in these people. Anyhow, the target of the NHS was to cover 60% of the cases.
The data of NHS England shows that in the NHS Dorset CCG area, 7,976 people had severe mental health issues. This is the data of the year 2018-19. However, only 1,471 individuals received a complete physical checkup.
This equals to only 18.4% of the total individuals having severe mental health issues that the CCG covered. While the target was to cover 60% of the cases.
Components of the physical health checkup
The components of the physical health examinations include body mass index, alcohol, smoking, blood sugar level, blood pressure, and cholesterol checks.
Blood pressure check was the most common check in Dorset as the CCG recorded the BP level of 5,599 patients. The least common was the cholesterol check for which the CCG covered only 3,204 patients.
Only NHS City and Hackney CCG met the target when they submitted their data among all CCGs.
NHS West Hampshire could not conduct a full checkup of 4,329 people with serious mental illnesses.
To improve the physical checkup quality, for all individuals with severe mental illnesses, NHS England has published the guidelines. The purpose is to ensure the physical examination of at least 280,000 people in each of the next three years.
According to the recent data of the last 12 months till June, only 144,160 individuals received the complete health checkup. However, the number of total individuals was 489,185. This equals to only 29.5% of the total cases.
Marjorie Wallace said that people having severe mental illnesses have 17 years reduced expectancy of natural life than the general population.
This is maybe directly due to their mental health status. But it can also occur because of the neglect in physical examination.
It is easy for health professionals to overlook the physical health of a person with severe mental illness. However, it is important to treat both mental and physical health problems with equal care.
The demand of the current situation
We should support people with any kind of mental health issue. This can help them to adapt and keep up with a healthier lifestyle.
NHS England is committed to work for reducing premature deaths among people because of their mental illnesses. Moreover, it is also working the decrease the mortality rates due to preventable diseases like heart diseases, diabetes, and cancer.
NHS added that they are investing over 1 Billion ponds so that they can improve community mental health services. This will help 390,000 extra people (with mental health illnesses) in their complete physical health checkups by 2023-24. Now this is up to CCGs to complete the target mission.