GPs not checking mental health patients

There is concern over mental health checks in South Tyneside
There is concern over mental health checks in South Tyneside

Barely a tenth of mental health patients in South Tyneside are getting comprehensive checks on their physical health from their GPs.

But despite the low proportion, the borough is still one of the best performing in Tyne and Wear.

According to figures shown to members of South Tyneside Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board, just 13 per cent of patients in the borough were given the full sweep of checks they are supposed to have by their GP.

However, the figures were even lower in North Tyneside, Northumberland and the Newcastle-Gateshead area, where the numbers were nine, five and three per cent, respectively.

Dr Jim Gordon, of South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), told the meeting: “13 per cent have received all six checks in South Tyneside, which isn’t particularly impressive, although I’m also glad we’re not Newcastle-Gateshead.”

He added: “Only 13 per cent of people with a mental health illness are getting physical health checks and this is the point that has been made ad nauseum, that mental health is not seen the same as physical health.”

Matt Brown, the CCg’s director of operations, pointed out the figures did not indicate mental health patients had not received all the physical checks, which include aspects such as smoking and blood pressure, but only that they had not had all of them.

New NHS guidelines plan to help 280,000 people with severe mental illnesses have their physical needs assessed from next year.

James Harrison

James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service