Responding to the publication of ‘Treat as One – Bridging the gap between mental and physical healthcare in general hospitals’, Prof Derek Bell, President of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, said:
“There is a well described link between mental and physical health and wellbeing. Today’s report makes clear the scale of the problem for patients presenting to acute hospitals with physical health complaints to have their mental health needs adequately addressed.
“There are a number of recommendations in the report which could improve the experience and outcomes for these patients and should be explored, including increased routine screening for potential mental health conditions, and developing guidelines for hospital staff on making referrals to psychiatric services.
“Both these and other recommendations in the report are long term, large in scope and will require major changes to structure, attitudes and practice, but must be addressed if we are to tackle this problem.
“It is also concerning that the study found that less than 10% of patients studied who were smokers were offered smoking cessation advice. While this is not always appropriate or possible, given the strong links between tobacco and mental health this is also an important area for improvement”.
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