Friday 28 March 2014


This year's Let's Get Physical! campaign will be launched at the Pierhead, Cardiff Bay, by Minister for Health and Social Services Mark Drakeford AM on 8th May 2014. The event is sponsored by Lindsay Whittle AM. More information will follow.

The campaign will involve lots of practical action by people with a serious mental illness and their families to promote their physical health - and I'll feature this in the Blog in the coming weeks.

But we also challenge GPs, other health and social care professionals, Health Boards, local authorities and the Welsh Government to reciprocate by ensuring that:

● all aspects of physical health are systematically addressed as part of clients’ Care and Treatment Plans including actions to address diet and physical activity

● the Care and Treatment Plan specifically and routinely takes into account the management of the side-effects of medication: for example, if the medication is causing weight gain, the "physical health" section of the Plan is the place to set out ways of dealing with this

● service users receive regular health checks from their GP – and all identified issues are addressed fully; these checks should include all that is available to the general population and additional interventions linked to their specific risk factors (as antipsychotic medication may increase the risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, etc.)

● a double-booking system is routine so that service users have longer appointments to fully address their physical health needs

● people with a serious mental illness are offered a range of physical activities as part of a treatment approach, including use of gym equipment, swimming, walking, etc.

● the opportunity for physical exercise using gym equipment, walking, etc., is routinely offered to all in-patients as well as those being treated in the community

● doctors and psychiatrists provide accessible, comprehensive information (preferably in hard copy form) on the choice of medications including advice on dosage, side-effects, management issues and efficacy so that patients can make an informed choice based on their own values

● staff in primary care (including administrative staff) are made aware of a patient’s mental illness at their request and make appropriate allowances for their specific needs

● inequalities in health and social care outcomes for people with a serious mental illness are decisively reduced

● local authorities and Health Boards work in a fully integrated way to address the physical health care needs of people with a serious mental illness

● the physical health care needs of carers are properly assessed and addressed

● carers are offered regular health checks

● GPs keep a record of whether someone is a carer so that they are aware of the added pressure this may put on their physical health

● Carers’ Assessments routinely take into account the physical health needs of carers

● carers are provided with advice and information on engaging with leisure facilities in the community

● carers are provided with practical support and respite opportunities so that they have the time to take part in physical exercise and shop for the best value food