People living with severe mental illness, people with learning disabilities, and autistic people have for many years faced some of the greatest health inequality gaps in England. These are three very different groups of people, but they share challenges in terms of physical health and disparity in health outcomes which are partly due to physical health needs being overlooked. For too many people this means living for many years with a long-term physical health condition and with reduced quality of life, as well as on average a dramatically reduced life expectancy.
In Sheffield, organisations are working together to look creatively at how we can support people living with these conditions to have the best possible physical health. There is a citywide local strategy to help us to achieve our shared commitments. This has been developed with the help of people with lived experience, their families, and stakeholder/advocacy organisations. There is also an ongoing commitment to build feedback mechanisms into improvement, commissioning and monitoring activity with the Sheffield Physical Health Strategy for People Living with Severe Mental Illness, People with Learning Disabilities, and Autistic People viewed below.
Some of the services we commission to support in this area include:
- Sheffield Mind Physical Health Engagement: This service works closely with GP surgeries to ensure that patients living with severe mental illness who are currently finding it difficult to access their health checks, vaccinations, or national screening can be offered practical support to do this, as well as offering support and signposting with cost-of-living crisis issues/concerns.
- Sheffield Mencap and Gateway are collaborating with the NHS on the delivery of a range of health services to support people with learning disabilities and autistic people to access health care.
- Primary Care Sheffield Health Coach Service: The team provides a time limited intervention by working directly into the GP practices to complete annual physical health checks for people living with severe mental illness, at the GP practice, or the home of the individual. The team will also help the practice to put in place effective and inclusive systems and processes for completing SMI health checks, when the team’s intervention ends.
- Sheffield physical health improvement web resources for staff and individuals:
- For staff working with people with learning disabilities and autistic people and working with people living with severe mental illness