Men with symptoms of psychosis are left untreated for 50% longer than women, according to figures published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).
HSCIC figures show that, based on the information recorded, after the onset of visible psychosis symptoms – the emergent psychosis stage – the median time it takes for males to receive a prescription is 4.5 weeks, compared to 3 weeks for women.
The report into Duration of Untreated Psychosis (DUP) focuses on adults who are referred to NHS-funded Early Intervention in Psychosis Services (EIS), which are the recommended way to deal with psychosis in its early stages. The report used figures from the Mental Health Minimum Data Set, which collects information about people accessing secondary mental health services in England.
Additionally, the HSCIC found variations in the length of time between the emergent psychosis date and prescription date between people of different ethnicities. The recorded information shows that median DUP for the black or black British ethnic group was longer than for other ethnic groups. For this group the median was 5.5 weeks, compared to 3.5 weeks for the white ethnic group and 4 weeks for the Asian ethnic group.
Kingsley Manning, chair of the HSCIC, said: “The recording of information about psychosis in the NHS needs to improve. Better data will allow care organisations to gain a clearer picture about how these services are running and how the situation is changing.
“Where information is recorded, it shows that there are wide variations in the time it takes for people with psychosis to receive treatment and should lead to questions for the health service about why these differences occur; whether some groups take longer to initially seek treatment for their symptoms or due to other factors.”
The full report is available at www.hscic.gov.uk/pubs/mhmdsjun14