Who can access the service?
If you have a severe mental illness (SMI) you are entitled to an annual physical health check. You have a severe mental illness if you have a diagnosis of schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar affective disorder or other psychoses. Some aspects of living with SMI mean that people are more likely to develop physical health problems. Everyone’s situation is different, but we know that good mental and physical health go hand in hand. A full health check is an important first step towards taking ownership of your physical health.
What we do
We will receive a referral from your GP and we will then send you a letter detailing how we can help you to access your health check and the support we offer. A member of the team will be in touch with you to introduce themselves and work with you to find out how we can help you. This may include liaising with the GP Surgery to make an appointment and attending the appointment with you if you require additional support.
What is a physical health check?
People living with SMI are at a greater risk of developing health conditions such as diabetes, stroke or heart problems. The annual physical health check is really important to help to detect any issues as early as possible and help you access the support you might need.
At your physical health check you should expect the following:
- Blood pressure – your blood pressure will be checked.
- Electrocardiogram (ECG) – a simple test to check your heart’s rhythm and electrical activity.
- Blood glucose – a blood sample will be taken for a blood test, where the level of glucose (sugar) in your blood will be checked.
- Height and weight – your height and weight will be measured.
- Blood lipid – a blood sample will be taken for a blood test, where the level of cholesterol in your blood will be checked.
- Smoking – you will be asked whether you smoke.
- Alcohol – you will be asked how much alcohol you drink.
- Screening and immunisation programmes – you will be asked if you have taken part in these programmes.
- Medication review – your medication will be reviewed and changes made if necessary.
- You’ll also be asked other questions about your general health.
What happens after my physical health check?
Receiving a physical health check should only be the start of your journey towards taking ownership of your health and wellbeing. Any issues identified will be discussed between you and your health care professional and together they will develop a plan about what to do next. You may be able to access follow-up support such as exercise schemes, weight management support, cooking classes, dietary advice, support to stop smoking or to drink less alcohol, as well as support around budgeting.