The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) is one of 24 founding members of Equally Well UK, a collaboration focused on addressing the physical “health gap” among people with severe mental illness.
Equally Well UK is led by the Centre for Mental Health, Kaleidoscope Health and Care and Rethink Mental Illness. It brings together more than 20 professional organisations, charities and health service bodies across the UK with the aim of reducing the 15–20-year life expectancy gap facing British people who are living with a severe mental illness.
According to the new collaborative, patients living with psychosis are two to three times more likely to develop diabetes and cardiovascular disease compared with those without severe mental illness. Smoking rates among people with psychosis are higher than average and they are more likely than the general population to die from cancer.
“The ‘Five year forward view for mental health’ committed the NHS to take action to tackle this shocking inequality,” said Sarah Hughes, chief executive of the Centre for Mental Health.
“Equally Well UK will help to make that happen by creating concerted action across boundaries, sharing stories of what works, and building a nationwide movement for change.”
In September 2018, founder members will produce a Charter for Equal Health with plans to make long-term changes to address the problem.
“With the right systems in place, pharmacists could help ensure that physical health monitoring is a routine part of their care, helping to reduce the health inequalities people living with mental health problems face,” said Robbie Turner, RPS director for England.
“Supporting people to get the best out of their treatment for mental health conditions (pharmacological or non-pharmacological) should become more routine and our membership of Equally Well UK will help us to help our members to deliver this for the benefit of the people they serve.
“The RPS is committed to supporting measures to address the physical health of people with mental health problems and so it was only natural that we support Equally Well UK as a founder member.”