Primary care bipolar treatment could slash NHS costs

Treating bipolar disorder in primary care to prevent relapse could save the NHS millions, UK research suggests.

Treating more bipolar patients in primary care could cut costs
Treating more bipolar patients in primary care could cut costs

A study led by Professor Allan Young of Imperial College London found emergency hospitalisation accounted for 60% of the £342m cost of the disorder in 2009/10.

Treating more patients in primary care could cut the cost of the illness in line with the government’s efficiency savings agenda, he said.

The study showed that just 27% of funds are spent on outpatient and community mental health services, with only 7% spent on medication in primary care.

Professor Young said patients were too often trapped in a ‘vicious cycle of relapse and recovery’.

‘A community-based approach employing evidence-based strategies such as psycho-education, physical health management and effective drug treatment can support patients from the time of diagnosis and help prevent recurrent acute episodes of crisis.’

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