Patients with mental health problems may not be receiving the appropriate screening or treatments for illnesses including heart disease and stroke, a report from The University of Nottingham has shown.
The research, led by Professor Julia Hippisley-Cox in the Universitys Division of General Practice and commissioned by the Disability Rights Commission, found some evidence that patients with mental health problems, such as schizophrenia, were also more likely to suffer from conditions like high blood pressure and epilepsy and may not always be given adequate access to preventative health care.
The research was an analysis of the clinical records of 1.7 million people registered with 242 general practices contributing to the QRESEARCH database. This database is based on the EMIS clinical system, the system of choice for more than half of general practitioners in the NHS. The database enables researchers to quickly detect regional and national trends of disease and illnesses.
In addition, the research also found some inequalities in preventative health care. For example:
The researchers said: “Equitable access to health care is about patients receiving the level of care appropriate to their level of need rather than a one size, fits all approach. For example, patients with higher levels of need and greater risk of adverse outcomes may need more energetic screening and management. We have found no evidence of this.”
The report also revealed some encouraging trends. More of those with severe mental illness had been recorded as receiving smoking advice and more had been prescribed smoking cessation medication compared to smokers without any mental health problems. More of those with severe mental illness (60 per cent of those with schizophrenia) had also had their blood pressure recorded in the past year compared to the remaining population (44 per cent) and those with schizophrenia were more likely to have a normal blood pressure reading (82 per cent versus 77 per cent).
Professor Julia Hippisley-Cox | alfa
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