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NELFT NHS Foundation Trust provides a range of  community health and mental health services across the north east London Boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Redbridge and Waltham Forest, Essex and Kent and Medway

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NELFT staff demonstrate the PHCP project to the Health Foundation

Staff representing the Health Foundation visited NELFT recently to see the PHCP project (Physical Health Care for Patients with psychosis via community pharmacy). The aim of the visit was for NELFT to demonstrate how the innovation award project is going.

The year-long project started in October 2016 and aims to carry out physical health checks for patients with psychosis in the community by pharmacists. The Health Foundation staff visited one of the pharmacies involved in the project, in Ripple Road, Barking, and then met staff from the NELFT team at Barking hospital.

Dr Asif Bachlani, NELFT Consultant Psychiatrist, said: “We were delighted to invite the Health Foundation to see the project live in action, as they funded this project as part of their innovation fund.

“By working in collaboration with community pharmacists, we have been delivering health checks for patients with psychosis close to where they live - which is more convenient and accessible for patients.  

Studies have shown that people with psychotic illnesses die around 15–20 years earlier than the rest of the population. This is related to cardio-metabolic side-effects of their medication which means they are more likely to have type 2 diabetes and a high body mass index, and are at increased risk of heart attack or stroke. Furthermore, their diet, exercise and smoking rates are worse than the general population. This is compounded by limited access to primary care and reduced uptake of health screening.

The Physical Health Care for patients with Psychosis (PHCP) project is a collaborative approach between secondary care, community pharmacy and primary care.

Dr Bachlani continued: “Feedback from patients using the community pharmacies has been very positive and by using this approach we hope to address the health inequalities that patients with psychosis face, where they die 15-20 years younger than the general population, and thus truly achieve parity of esteem.”

Community pharmacists will offer a bio-psycho-social needs assessment based on the SelfCare Pharmacy Practice model and will co-create written wellbeing plans with patients. They will then facilitate behaviour change in order to empower patients to adopt healthier lifestyles. Health promotion, health monitoring and health navigation will be undertaken to ensure patients receive physical investigations and interventions to mitigate the physical health consequences of anti-psychotic medication.

The aim is to ensure that 75% of patients with psychosis known to secondary care mental health services in Barking and Dagenham have an assessment of the key cardio-metabolic risk factors associated with antipsychotics and receive appropriate interventions.

Justin Earl, Healthcare Consultant of Springfield Consultancy supporting the Health Foundation, said: “It has been inspiring to see the dedication and passion of the project team, especially the community pharmacists, who are committed to the success of this project.  

“I am confident that the project will deliver its stated outcome to improve the physical healthcare for patients with psychosis and that the learning will be invaluable to other organisations who may wish to consider the model for wider implementation.”

Pictured (L-R) are Heather O’Connell (RGN - NELFT), Moira Hollick (Support Worker - NELFT), Esther Peinado (Project Liaison Officer - NEL LPC), Dr Justin Earl (Springfield Consultancy, on behalf on the Health Foundation) and Dr Asif Bachlani (Project Lead - NELFT).