Please login to the form below

How can pharma help the NHS drive much-needed change in mental health services?

Laurence Mascarenhas, of Wilmington Healthcare, assesses how pharma can help the NHS to achieve Parity of Esteem (PoE) in mental health

Introduction
 

One in four British adults will suffer at least one mental health disorder in any given year; 1.2m people in England have a learning disability and more than one million people will have dementia by 2021.* However, despite the prevalence of mental health problems, only a quarter of people with illnesses, such as depression, are receiving treatment, according to NHS England.  

Tackling the issues that lie behind these statistics and ensuring that mental health is given the same priority as physical health is now a key Government priority, driven by NHS England’s Parity of Esteem (PoE) Programme. The PoE programme aims to achieve this through prevention, early intervention, access to crisis care on a 24/7 basis and better integration of mental and physical healthcare.  

What are the key barriers to PoE?
 

There is still a lot of stigma attached to mental health problems and although the situation is slowly improving, many people refuse to seek help for fear of discrimination at home and at work.    

If individuals do visit their GP, opportunities to refer them on to appropriate care are often missed because many GPs have a limited understanding of the complexity of mental health and they may also be unaware of the services available in their local area.  

Furthermore, while it is widely accepted that physical and mental health problems often go hand in hand, they tend to be treated in isolation by healthcare professionals. The fact that the police, Social Services, mental health and other NHS services work in isolation is also a problem.  

Changes that could help to achieve PoE
   

Early intervention is key and GPs should be looking to refer patients to services such as Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPTs) - a 16-week programme designed for people with anxiety and depression that can be accessed via all mental health trusts in England.  
 

If one GP in each practice held a specific qualification, such as a mental health diploma, this could dramatically increase the number of patients diagnosed within primary care and referred to appropriate services.  

A more integrated approach is needed for mental and physical healthcare. This would see, for example, those with long-term physical health problems getting regular reviews of their mental health, and people with mental health issues receiving appropriate intervention and support to address associated physical health risk behaviours. 
 

Joined up working between the NHS, police and Social Services is essential, and there should also be a greater emphasis on rehabilitation; Recovery Colleges should be a key part of the patient pathway to help people get back on track and promote self-care.

How can pharma help?
 

There is a big role for pharma in funding research and conducting clinical trials to further explore the side effects of drugs which are used for conditions, ranging from diabetes to dementia, and are known to cause psychosis.  

The cash-strapped NHS has a culture of prescribing the cheapest drugs. Pharma needs to convince commissioners and providers of the value of mental health drugs, which may be more expensive to buy, but will save money in the long-run because they are more effective.
 

Pharma can also provide support with adherence by making medicines and the administration of them more user-friendly.  It could also offer training for care workers to help ensure that people with mental health conditions take their medicines as prescribed.  
 

Data is also key. By analysing the wealth of patient data that already exists, such as Hospital Episodes Statistics (HES) data and Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Data, pharma can identify important trends, gaps and needs that will lead to significant improvements in patient care.  

Conclusion
 

To help improve treatments and outcomes in mental health, pharma could: fund research and conduct clinical trials to further explore the side effects of drugs; educate commissioners and providers on the efficacy and long-term savings that can be generated from specific drugs, and provide support on adherence. In addition, the industry can harness the power of data to help the NHS identify trends and opportunities to make a real difference to patient care and outcomes.
   

                                                                  Ends

*Statistics from NHS England https://www.england.nhs.uk/mentalhealth/parity
 

Laurence Mascarenhas is an Associate Director at Wilmington Healthcare.
For information on Wilmington Healthcare, log on to www.wilmingtonhealthcare.com
 

5th January 2017

Share

Tags

Company Details

Wilmington Healthcare

01268 495600

Contact Website

Address:
Beechwood House
2-3 Commercial Way
Christy Close
Southfields
Basildon
SS15 6EF
United Kingdom

Latest content on this profile

EQUAL FOOTING: HOW PHARMA CAN HELP THE NHS TO ACT ON HEALTH INEQUALITIES
As the NHS puts a renewed focus on reducing health inequalities, Oli Hudson looks at what opportunities this might it bring for Industry and how it can best play its part.
Wilmington Healthcare
UNDERSTANDING THE NEW VALUE PROPOSITION FOR THE NHS
Industry needs a new way of describing its commercial propositions in response to the changing NHS landscape, argues Wilmington Healthcare’s Oli Hudson. This ‘new value proposition’ needs to be reflected across all brand planning and engagement activity.
Wilmington Healthcare
Wilmington Healthcare appoints new director to lead cloud-based healthcare customer intelligence tool
Paul Rowe to lead intelligence tool that allows Industry to gain the complete picture of their changing NHS customer base and employ precision planning to access target customers and markets.
Wilmington Healthcare
LOOKING AHEAD: UNDERSTANDING THE NHS CUSTOMER’S PRIORITIES FOR 2022/23
The recently published operational planning guidance describes what the NHS needs to achieve this year. Wilmington Healthcare’s Oli Hudson explores some of its critical themes and what they mean for industry.
Wilmington Healthcare
NAVIGATING 2022: THE FIVE CRITICAL SHIFTS PHARMA NEEDS TO EMBRACE
With a stormy outlook predicted for health and care, Wilmington Healthcare’s Oli Hudson looks at the five critical shifts that pharma should focus on as it navigates its way through 2022.
Wilmington Healthcare
CHANGING FACES: UNDERSTANDING THE KEY CUSTOMER CONTACT POINTS WITHIN THE ICS LANDSCAPE
As well as creating new structures, the reforms underway within the NHS will see a considerable movement of people and power across the new Integrated Care Systems. Wilmington Healthcare’s Victoria Paxman looks at how the landscape of key influencers and decision-makers will change as a result.
Wilmington Healthcare