Annual physical health checks for people living with severe mental illness during the COVID-19 pandemic – guidance for primary care

Author: Liz Tooke - coordinated document on behalf of Sheffield Physical Health Implementation Group - Project Manager (Sheffield CCG)

Date published: August 2020

Date to review: August 2021

Practices will be aware of the national expectation that annual physical health checks for people living with severe mental illness are still expected to be completed.

Sadly the average life expectancy for someone with a long-term mental health illness is at least 15-20 years shorter than for someone without and it is estimated that for people with SMI, 2 in 3 deaths are from physical illnesses that can be prevented. Annual physical health checks (and the follow up interventions) are a key way to reduce these longstanding health inequalities.

In recognition that completing these checks is a challenging ask for most Practices during the pandemic, the cross-organisational Sheffield SMI/LD/Autism Physical Health Group has co-produced some guidance to support the completion of the health checks.

The steps in the guidance ensure:

1) Patients at greatest risk be reviewed first

2) Patients who can safely be assessed remotely should be

Practices are also encouraged to send out a Pre-Health Check Questionnaire directly from the Practice. See template questionnaire/letter attached below. This has been developed based on good practice examples from other areas and using feedback from local people living with SMI. It is explained in more detail in the guidance.