People with schizophrenia have an increased risk of premature death from heart problems, but over two thirds receive inadequate support for their physical health.
National Audit highlights concerns with psychiatrists’ prescribing for schizophrenic care and shows the need for collaborative work between medics and social workers.
The first ever national audit of schizophrenia care in England and Wales, led by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, revealed that just 29% of people with schizophrenia received a full physical health check for risk factors such as cardio metabolic disease.
This is in spite being more at risk of premature death from heart problems.
The audit compared NHS data on the care offered to over 5,000 people with schizophrenia, and questioned the service users and carers on their opinions following treatment.
They found that third of people whose were unhappy with their prescribed medication had not been offered a psychological therapy. It was often the case that they would instead be prescribed further medication, irregardless of results; 30% of cases were on multiple antipschotics, and 14% were on these despite showing no benefit. This is further confirmed by 22% of people being treated for schizophrenia felt their views were not taken in to account with treatment and medication choices.
The study found that overall Trusts need to involve medical, nursing, pharmacy and social work professionals in order to complete a collaborative audit of schizophrenic care, as currently in mental health teams not all professional groups are allowed adequate time required for a fair assessment.
Professor Mike Crawford, lead of the National Audit of Schizophrenia Project Team, said:
Financial pressures on mental health services are making it harder to deliver high quality care. The results of this audit show that some services are coping better with these pressures than others.
There needs to be better coordination of care between GPs and mental health services if standards of care are to be improved.
Paul Jenkins, chief executive of Rethink mental illness, said:
It doesn’t take much time or money for health professionals to carry out a proper physical health check, and it really is a disgrace that so many people with schizophrenia are not getting the basic physical health support that the NICE guidelines recommend.