People with serious mental illness (SMI) are at greatest risk of poor overall health and premature mortality. Figures show that people with SMI on average die 15 to 20 years earlier than the general population due to preventable physical health problems. Premature and avoidable deaths in people with SMI could be significantly reduced if their physical health needs were identified much earlier and effectively managed.
People with SMI often do not access healthcare in the same way as the general population. For a long time this group of people have struggled to get appropriate, timely information, advice and support for their physical health needs on subjects including diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and how to quit smoking. Effective communication and collaboration across primary and secondary healthcare settings in closing the care and quality gaps in physical health and the management of care in people with severe mental health illness needs to be number one priority across the NHS.