Improving Physical Health Care for People with Severe Mental Illness (SMI) 

People with SMI face stark health inequalities and are less likely to have their physical health needs met, both in terms of identification of physical health concerns and delivery of the appropriate, timely screening and treatment. Please watch Mary's story to learn of her experiences and gain a greater understanding of the importance of physical health checks for people with SMI. 

Compared to the general population, individuals with SMI (such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder):

  • Face a shorter life expectancy by an average of 15 – 20 years.
  • Are three times more likely to smoke.
  • Are at double the risk of obesity and diabetes, three times the risk of hypertension and metabolic syndrome, and five times the risk of dyslipidaemia (imbalance of lipids in the bloodstream).


  • Lack of clarity around responsibilities in healthcare provision in primary and secondary care.
  • Gaps in training among primary care clinicians.
  • Lack of confidence across the workforce to deliver physical health checks among people with SMI.


The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health and the NHS Long Term Plan have identified that NHS England should ensure that by 2020/21, 280,000 people have their physical health needs met by increasing early detection and expanding access to evidence based physical care assessment and interventions.


Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are to offer NICE recommended screening and access to physical care interventions to cover 30% of the population with SMI on the GP register in 2017/18, moving to 60% population from the following year. This is to be delivered across primary and secondary care.


Within Yorkshire and the Humber the Mental Health Network is providing assistance to Commissioners and Providers to support quality and innovation in delivering physical health care interventions to people with SMI.

The Mental Health Network assists Commissioners and Providers by:

  • Facilitating engagement and information sharing from relevant national, regional and local leads
  • Supporting all local Clinical Commissioning Groups and Providers to deliver the required access to physical care interventions
  • Developing an understanding of key questions in this area of work and sharing learning with stakeholders
  • Disseminating relevant information from both NHS England and experts in this field

** NEW**  Working closely with clinical experts and patient/carer groups, we have developed an e-Learning package to support the above.  We are delighted to announce that this e-Learning package is now live on the e-Learning for HealthCare platform and can be accessed here.    

Useful Documents


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Guidance Documents

Tools and Templates

Useful Information 


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