Most people with mental illness in the East Riding miss out on crucial physical health checks

The Mental Health Foundation said the low number of checks across England was 'shocking but not surprising'.
The Mental Health Foundation said the low number of checks across England was 'shocking but not surprising'.

Around a quarter of people living with severe mental illness in the East Riding received a full physical check last year that could prevent early death – despite an NHS target of 60%

The Mental Health Foundation said the low number of checks across England was “shocking but not surprising”, with mental illness often overshadowing their physical health, even though the two should be treated equally.

NHS England data shows that there were 1,515 people with severe mental illness in the NHS East Riding CCG area in 2018-19, but only 396 received a full physical check-up. This was 26.1% of people with mental illness covered by the CCG, despite the target being set at 60%.

Physical health examinations include checks for alcohol consumption, blood glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure, body mass index and smoking status.

Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of the mental health charity Sane, said: “People with severe mental illnesses lose as much as 17 years of natural life expectancy compared with the general population.

“Some of this may be directly due to their mental illness, but much is likely to be the result of the neglect of their physical health.”

NHS England has said that it is committed to “leading work to reduce premature mortality among people living with severe mental illness”, reducing the risk from preventable serious illnesses, such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

A spokesman said: “The NHS is investing almost £1 billion to improve community mental health services, so an extra 390,000 patients with severe mental illness will receive a check by 2023-24.”