Gracie is a Programme Manager based within the Mind and Body Programme at King’s Health Partners who recently led completion of the Integrating our Mental and Physical Healthcare Systems (IMPHS) Project. This project focused on researching and testing physical health interventions that could more effectively support adults living with serious mental illnesses and the team worked closely with South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and the Centre for Implementation Science at Kings College London to embed them into routine practice. Gracie’s background in management consulting and psychology, has led her to work alongside various private and public sector organisations to develop, improve and deliver services that support adults living with mental health problems, their families and reduce inequalities within local communities. In 2019, Gracie accepted the Mind Network Partnership and Profile Excellence Award for contributions to collaborative partnerships within the UK’s voluntary sector to improve early intervention and prevention-based approaches for adults living with common mental health problems.
Adults with serious mental illnesses (SMI), die more prematurely from preventable physical health problems than the average population. In 2014, NICE guidance required mental health providers to complete annual physical health checks to better identify and address physical health problems amongst SMI patients. We conducted a service evaluation within a UK Mental Health Trust to investigate barriers faced regarding physical healthcare that hindered completion of checks within mental health settings. From this work, a series of recommendations were developed, that are now being translated using the Knowledge-to-Action (KTA) Framework (Graham et al., 2006) to improve physical healthcare for SMI patients across two Mental Health Trusts in south east London.
A service evaluation was conducted using a qualitative methodology, involving interviews (n=23) and focus groups (n=27) with mental health staff, patients, and carers. Thematic analysis was used to synthesis collected data, and reviewed through workshops with staff, patients, and carers to develop recommendations.
23 interviews and 8 focus groups were completed (n=50).
4 recommendations were identified:
1. Clear organisational vision and strategy for physical healthcare
2. Accessible policy and guidelines
3. A comprehensive training programme
4. A quality framework outlining the physical healthcare offer for SMI patients
We seek to build upon these recommendations by supporting both Trusts to develop and implement them. To facilitate this, both Trusts are working together to establish a Community of Practice (COP) to share best practice. Using the KTA, we aim to achieve parity in physical healthcare practice across both Trusts for SMI patients.
We hope this work will improve physical healthcare standards in routine mental health practice, and better equip Mental Health Trusts to enhance access, care quality, and outcomes for SMI patients. We are working with both Trusts to evaluate whether these changes lead to improvements in the future.