King's Fund warns mental health failings cost NHS billions

Poor identification and treatment of mental health problems is costing the NHS billions of pounds a year, the King's Fund has warned.

The failure to tackle mental health issues exacerbates co-existing conditions, according to a report by researchers from the King’s Fund and the Centre for Mental Health.

The researchers estimate that £1 in every £8 spent on long-term conditions is linked to poor mental health, equating to between £8bn and £13bn a year of NHS spending.

Co-existing mental health problems are linked to increased hospitalisation rates, increased outpatient service use and poor self-management, the report said.

King’s Fund fellow Chris Naylor, the report’s lead author, said: ‘The prevailing approach towards improving care for people with long-term conditions is at risk of failing unless we look at patients’ needs as a whole, including their mental health needs.

‘To achieve this, mental health provision cannot simply be tacked on to physical care but needs to be an integral part of it.’

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