A charity has called on the NHS to better integrate mental health and diabetes care after it was revealed that half of those needing treatment in both areas are not receiving vital checks.
Diabetes UK has revealed that half of the 73,000 people diagnosed with severe mental illness and Type 2 diabetes in England and Wales are not receiving checks that could help prevent complications.
The NHS advises that all people with diabetes should receive the eight NICE recommended checks, including blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol and foot checks.
However, Diabetes UK’s research found ‘huge variation’ between the best and worst performing areas when it came to checking diabetes in mental health patients.
In Hackney 78% of residents with Type 2 diabetes and severe mental illnesses receive all the required checks, whereas it is only 18% in Wolverhampton. The average is 60%.
‘The health system should recognise that long term physical and mental health conditions often occur together and provide care that focuses on the whole person rather than a single condition,’ said Nikki Joule, policy manager at Diabetes UK.
‘We need to bridge the divide between physical and mental health services to ensure those with severe mental illness and Type 2 diabetes do not have their physical care needs overlooked.
‘It is critical that all care sees the whole person, and provides integrated support.’
The charity argues the standard of care can be improved by ensuring that mental health professionals who provide care for people affected by diabetes have knowledge of diabetes and its management.