The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has signed Equally Well UK’s Charter for Equal Health, pledging to reduce physical health inequalities experienced by people with severe mental illness.
The Charter was launched at the Royal College of Nursing on 13 September 2018. David Branford, chief pharmacist at Derbyshire Mental Health Services NHS Trust and a former chair of the English Pharmacy Board, signed on behalf of the RPS.
In the UK, the life expectancy of people with a severe mental health problem is 15–20 years shorter, on average, than those without. The Equally Well initiative, which began in New Zealand, aims to reduce health inequality by working to improve the physical health of people with a mental illness. The UK arm is a collaboration led by the Centre for Mental Health, Kaleidoscope and Rethink Mental Illness. The RPS was one of 24 founding members of Equally Well UK, and to date more than 50 partner organisations have joined the collaboration.
In June 2018, the RPS published ‘No health without mental health: How can pharmacy support people with mental health problems’, which explored how pharmacist expertise can be maximised to support patients with mental health problems. This was accompanied by a policy document titled ‘Utilising pharmacists to improve the care for people with mental health problems’.
“No one should have poorer physical health because they have a mental health condition”, said Sandra Gidley, chair of the English Pharmacy Board. “We hope that through the combined efforts of the collaborative, this fundamental injustice will be consigned to history.
“‘No health without mental health’ makes a number of recommendations about how pharmacists can better support people with mental health problems and help reduce the health inequalities they experience.”