This report is available
- General health morbidity among people with
mental health problems is high.
- There is a need for good-quality general
healthcare for psychiatric patients, whether in community settings
or in-patient care.
- There is a need for clarity about the
responsibility of the psychiatrist in general healthcare, working
in partnership and collaboration with primary healthcare and other
There is a growing body of evidence that many
psychiatrists lack the skills required to provide for the general
healthcare of people with mental health problems. This situation
may have arisen for good reason – psychiatrists have sought to
specialise in mental health matters, regarding physical healthcare
as the province of other clinicians. However, as medical
practitioners, psychiatrists clearly have a role to play in the
management of the general health problems of people with mental
health problems. This entails an understanding of the complex
interactions between mental health and general health, and an
appropriate level of competence in the prevention, detection and
treatment of general health problems in their patients, including
awareness of the indications for specialist referral.
The overall aim of the Scoping Group was to explore
a range of issues concerning the general health of people with
mental health problems, with a view to making recommendations to
the Council of the Royal College of Psychiatrists on matters
concerning clinical practice, training and the identification of
other priorities in physical healthcare.