The NHS Long Term Plan (LTP) published in 2019 outlines a programme of service expansions and improvements for mental health to finally deliver “parity of esteem” between mental and physical health, a term first introduced into the NHS’s plans in 2011.
“Parity of esteem” is defined as ‘valuing mental health equally with physical health’, meaning those with mental health problems will benefit from, amongst other things, equal access to the most effective and safest treatment, equal efforts to improve the quality of care and equal status in the measurement of health outcomes.
With about 1 in 3 GP consultations now involving a mental health element, a number of our clients are now delivering on the Long Term Plan by providing their GPs with immediate access to mental health specialists alongside their physical health specialty options.
A good example of this is in South East London, where Greenwich GPs have access to the following advice on a single point of access:
- An expanding range of physical specialties at Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Foundation Trust
- An expanding range of mental health specialties provided by the teams at Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust.
This means that the GPs are equally supported to care for their patients with mental health problems as physical health problems.
The following two short videos explain the service and Greenwich CCG’s reasoning behind providing parity of mental and physical advice to GPs:
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