Eye healthCharity Rethink Mental Illness has developed a suite of tools including care pathways, physical health checks and ward posters to support professionals to improve the physical health care of people with mental illness.

The tools are designed to be used by health professionals across the NHS to support people with their physical health in line with new CQUIN (Commissioning for Quality and Innovation) guidelines launched last year.

Rethink's recent Lethal Discrimination report showed that 30,000 people with mental illness die each year from preventable physical health conditions and the charity’s CEO, Mark Winstanley, said the physical health needs of people with mental illness have been overlooked "for far too long".

"We were delighted when NHS England introduced the CQUIN to improve physical health care earlier this year," he added. "However, it became clear that there was a lack of tools to enable mental health professional adopt a structured approach to physical health.

"We hope these tools can help mental health professionals implement the CQUIN and meet the targets they have been set. But more importantly, we want to equip health professions across the system with practical support to improve the lives of people affected by mental illness."

Further reading: Time to treat mental and physical illness with equal importance, say influential groups 

The free tools include the Integrated Physical Health Pathway, a resource to help GPs and mental health services work together to monitor and act on the physical health needs of the people they support.

They also feature a CQUIN ward poster, which outlines the physical health checks that staff should carry out, and follow-up actions they can take. Both of these tools have been endorsed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Royal College of Nursing and Royal College of GPs.

Also available in the toolkit is a Physical Health Check tool, which offers a structured way of discussing and assessing people’s physical health needs, and a self-assessment of readiness for implementation tool (SARIT) for service providers introducing the CQUIN.

Download the full set of tools at www.rethink.org/phc