Greater flexibility of services

This page highlights the importance of recognising and planning ways to overcome the various barriers that prevent easy access to physical healthcare for people with serious mental illness.

Offer greater flexibility in care to meet the physical, mental and social needs of individuals.

Actions to take

  • Support the development of flexible service models that target unmet physical health needs and management of long-term conditions for people with an serious mental illness (SMI) in partnership with mental health services.
  • Use understanding of population needs to develop enhanced pathways or arrangements for those needing extra support to access and benefit from physical healthcare (e.g. enhanced care packages, outreach support etc.).
  • Explore various models of integrated or collaborative care to improve access to primary care services.
  • Support delivery of risk assessment tools to stratify and trigger pathways for extra support or integrated mental and physical health outreach/in-reach services.
  • Understand the range of practical, structural and cultural barriers to delivery of good physical health within mental health trusts, including stigma, leadership, digital infrastructure, estates, equipment, workforce skills and funding streams.
  • Work strategically in local areas with local authority, communities, other government agencies and voluntary sector organisations to increase access and benefit from health promotion, prevention and wellbeing activities irrespective of current care settings.
  • Commissioners to support trust and primary care clinicians to make shared care agreements based on consideration of who is best placed to provide care. Commissioners should support standardisation of these agreements and, if difficulties arise, mediate and ensure appropriate financial remuneration follows.

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