Mental health trust is first to use streamlining system to better treat patient’s physical illnesses

By Charles Harrison

A leading South London mental health trust is the first to use a streamlining system to better treat their physical illnesses too.

The Consultant Connect system allows clinicians at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) to contact nearby hospital doctors in over 80 specialties for recommendations on their patients, without the need for a full referral.

People diagnosed with a serious mental illness have a reduced life expectancy of between 15 and 20 years, due to their worse physical health.

But two-thirds of the time, use of Consultant Connect by clinicians at SLaM has successfully enabled them to treat their patient’s physical as well as mental health over the last year.

Ray McGrath, the lead nurse with SLaM’s Integrating our Mental and Physical Healthcare Systems Project, said: “During the Covid19 pandemic the potential of Consultant Connect really began to shine through, because it became really important to avoid unnecessary transfers between hospitals due to increased infection risk.”

Consultant Connect is already widely used all over the NHS, but SLaM are the first mental health trust to make use of it.

They have done so over 650 times since joining the scheme in June 2020.

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