Mental and Physical Healthcare

Achieving Parity between Mental and Physical Healthcare

This week, we were delighted to co-host the MaP Project Conference with Allied Health Solutions here at Tavis House. Titled “Enabling the Patients to Walk Through one Door”, the aim of the conference was to discuss the different ways in which parity between mental and physical healthcare can be achieved within the social care sector. By assembling a programme of experts from different areas of social care, we were able to increase staff and patients’ understanding of each others’ roles when supporting different mental and physical health needs. It is hoped that this will lead to several changes within the social care sector, including: greater peer support; collaborative team working; increased referrals to different services; and increased signposting to relevant community-based resources.

The conference was an opportunity to increase understanding of a range of perspectives from across the social care workforce and to develop greater knowledge of patients’ experiences when accessing both mental and physical healthcare. Attendees were also advised on the delivery of consistent messages between members of the health and social care workforce on the subject of mental and physical health needs. There was also plenty of opportunity to network – especially over lunch!

Following brief introductions from Age UK London’s CEO Paul Goulden and Dr Tony Burch (Primary Care Advisor at HEE North London), we were introduced to the MaP project by June Davis, the Director of Allied Health Solutions. The project aims to increase and enhance the knowledge and skills of health and social care staff to enable them to support their patients’ mental and physical healthcare needs. We then heard from Andy Bell, Deputy CEO at the Centre for Mental Health and Linda Hindle of Public Health England, both of whom concentrated on the integration of mental and physical healthcare.

A short break was followed by a moving and inspiring speech from Steve McNeice, a patient who told his story of resilience and overcoming adversity. Steve captivated our audience with his experiences, which perfectly displayed the need for mental and physical healthcare to be intertwined. This thread was then continued by Carrie Scott and Ian Merrick, who performed a joint presentation on The Hounslow Occupational Therapy Allotment Project, before Annabel Crowe explained the role of GPs within primary care – again with particular focus on the borough of Hounslow.

Mental and physical healthcare
Steve McNeice captivated our audience with his experiences.

Following a brief lunch break, Claudia Salazar and Claudine Pisani discussed mental and physical wellbeing, in a presentation that included revealing some surprising sources of hidden sugar, which certainly gave our audience food (and drink!) for thought! The final presentation came from Venus Kan, who outlineed the perspectives of different professionals in vocational services and dietetics at Broadmoor Hospital.

To round off the event, Director of Focus Games Melvin Bell revealed a brand new board game designed for used in the social care sector to aid the understanding of different perspectives. The whole room divided into groups to test out the new game, which was a both fun and educational way to round off the day.

Overall, we were delighted to welcome so many expert speakers across a wide range of topics, all of whom were incredibly passionate about the need to achieve parity between mental and physical healthcare. We hope the event gave our audience plenty to think on and discuss with friends and colleagues alike!

George Harvey

George is Age UK London's Communications and Campaigns Officer.

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