Top of the Table for Health Checks for At Risk Groups
More people with a severe mental illness in South Tyneside have received an annual health check over the past year than anywhere else in the country.
According to data published by NHS England, South Tyneside was also rated third best in the country for health checks for people with a learning disability.
The health checks are important as people with mental illness or a learning disability often have reduced life expectancy as they can find it more difficult to recognise illness, describe their needs and use health services.
The Primary Care Health Hubs - a partnership between the Council and the Clinical Commissioning Group - has been working alongside GPs in South Tyneside to carry out the health checks. The service works with people with learning disabilities, autism, ADHD, severe mental illness and children over the age of 14 with special educational needs.
The checks can include taking weight and blood tests as well as advice on fitness, healthy eating, support for mental health issues and a review of medication.
The national target for delivering health checks to people with a severe mental illness is 60 per cent in 2021 but in South Tyneside it was 67 per cent. For people with a learning disability, the national target was 75 per cent and in South Tyneside it was 86 per cent.
Councillor Anne Hetherington, Lead Member for Independence and Wellbeing, said: "We all know that people with a mental illness or learning disability have been at greater risk of Covid. It is fantastic news that the teams have continued to be able to see people and means that we are delivering on our priority to support families and our vulnerable communities.
"Coming top of a performance league table is always good but to achieve this during a pandemic is nothing short of remarkable. I would like to place my thanks on record to the staff for carrying on this good work under the most challenging of circumstances."
Dr Jim Gordon, a local GP and Clinical Director at NHS South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: "These checks are so important if we are to help all our patients live as full and healthy lives as possible. It can often be harder for a person with learning disabilities or severe mental illness to get the care they need, but an annual health check can find problems early and help to get the right care at the right time. So many colleagues have worked hard for this achievement, which can make a huge difference in people's lives."
Anyone with severe mental illness or a learning disability, or their family or carer, can contact the hub if they need their annual heath check or further support by calling 0191 451 6649 Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm or emailing SouthTynesidePCPHS@cntw.nhs.uk