Long-term health gains

Long-term health gainsThis report, published by the NHS Conferederation’s Mental Health Network, presents evidence for investing in care that addresses both physical and psychological needs.

The report Investing in emotional and psychological wellbeing for patients with long-term conditions, brings together the evidence across diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and coronary heart disease, plus medically unexplained symptoms, to present a business case for investing in psychological services.

The report asserts that long-term physical conditions often affect a patient’s mental health, and psychological wellbeing can also have an impact on the effectiveness of treatment for, and a patient’s ability to manage, long-term conditions. Despite this, many individuals do not receive care that addresses both their physical and psychological needs.

The Mental Health Network briefing summarises the report and describes how primary and secondary health services can improve patient outcomes, while reducing the overall costs of care for the NHS.

Key points made in the briefing, include:

  • An estimated 30 per cent of people with a long-term condition also have a mental health problem.
  • Co-morbid mental health problems are a major cost driver in the care of long-term conditions, accounting for a 45–75 per cent increase in service costs.
  • Service models that address the full range of patient needs have been shown to improve patient outcomes and lead to cost savings that far outweigh the cost of the psychological interventions.

The NHS Confederation’s Mental Health Network (MHN) represents mental health and learning disability service providers to the NHS in England. The MHN promotes the views and interests of its members and to influence policy on their behalf. For more information visit www.nhsconfed.org/mhn.