A new outreach project that could improve the long-term health of vulnerable people living with a diagnosis of Severe Mental Illness (SMI) will soon be rolled out to people in Bedford, Central Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes following a successful pilot in Luton.
Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group (BLMK CCG) carried out the project, which aimed to ensure that everyone living with SMI had the opportunity to receive their annual physical health check.
Nationally, people living with SMI face a number of inequalities including difficulty managing long-term conditions, with the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbating these further.
The project saw 207 people receive their full check in an 8 week period, which equated to 92% of all of the people that were contacted. Eligible patients were identified with the help of their GP practices, who referred patients under their care who were living with SMI and were particularly vulnerable or had not often attended their health checks. Patients were offered a tailored approach to undertake their health check, such as extended access to clinics in the evenings and weekends, a home visiting service and the opportunity to be seen by a Mental Health Pharmacist.
Dr Kirti Singh, GP Federation Chair and Clinical Lead for the Project, said:
“This was a fantastic outreach project targeting some of the most vulnerable people in Luton. Many of these people had become increasingly isolated during the pandemic, and just having the opportunity to see and speak to someone in person, went a long way in helping them re-engage.
“Through carrying out this project, we were not only able to engage with some very isolated patients, we were also able to identify both acute and chronic illness, which could have otherwise gone undiagnosed. These checks play a vital role in improving the long-term health of these patients and ensuring they receive the care that they need.
“Following this project, BLMK CCG have been successful in receiving additional funds for outreach projects and will be working on expanding this project across Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes to ensure that all eligible patients receive their annual physical health check.”