Mental health care leads to reduction in hospital admissions

An NHS pilot scheme has seen a reduction in demand for GP appointments and hospital admissions as a direct result of improved mental health care.

The Improving Access to Talking Therapies programme encourages a ‘whole-person assessment’ to be given to patients with long-term health issues, like diabetes, heart problems or respiratory illness, which focuses on possible additional mental health care they may need to manage their condition.

In Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, where the programme is being trialled, there has been a three-quarters reduction in inpatient hospital attendance and a 61 per cent decrease in A&E admissions, freeing up £200,000 of NHS funding. There has also been a 73 per cent reduction in demand for GP appointments.

Claire Murdoch, NHS England national director of mental health, said: “Effective NHS mental health care for people with long-term illness is a game-changer for our patients and good news for taxpayers. By integrating talking therapies with treatment for diabetes and heart conditions, NHS patients get care for mind and body at the same time.

“Anyone who has to deal on a daily basis with the pain of arthritis or a serious backache knows that it not only slows you down physically but darkens your mood, sometimes leading to serious mental ill health. As the NHS turns 70, integrated talking therapy services are a big step forward for our patients and a crucial part of putting mental health at the centre of our plans for the future of the health service in England.”

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