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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

OP67. Physical Health in Mental Health

Price: £0.00

Published: Jan 2009

Status: current

Number of pages: 70

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This report is available online-only.

  • 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 specialist colleagues.

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.

Overall aim

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.

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