100 Ways of Using Data to Make Lives Better

Improving Care and Services for Patients with Mental Health and Substance Abuse Problems

Published on: 8th September 2016

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Case Study 9
Public Health

Sarah Rees, Ting Wang, Dan Thayer, Mathilda Castagnet, Ann John – Swansea University
Janet Keauffling, Nurse for the Homeless Swansea
Jane Harrison, ABMU

Individuals experiencing both mental health and substance misuse problems have many complex needs that require high levels of care. This research project provided vital evidence to help improve and change how services are provided to patients.

The Challenge

Individuals experiencing both mental health and substance misuse problems have many complex needs that require high levels of care. The Welsh Government has advised that mental health and substance misuse services need to work together to ensure skills and expertise are put to best use and the best care is provided.

Evidence suggests that the incidence of a dual diagnosis of both mental health and substance misuse problems is increasing. It is widely recognised that the support for patients in Wales is, at present, not satisfactory – partly due to the lack of evidence on service demand in the region.

The Research

South Wales, looked to address this problem. 75% of GP practices in the Health Board participated in the study which was carried out by a group of Farr Institute researchers based at Swansea University.

The project aimed to:

  • To establish how many people in the ABMU Health Board are currently recorded as suffering with both mental health and substance misuse problems.
  • Study the codes used by GP practices to record these conditions.
  • Present much needed evidence to help restructure and improve the service.

The Results

The project provided the first insight into the number of adults with both mental health and substance misuse problems in the ABMU Health Board area.
The research work also revealed that better coding and recording is needed by GPs in order to provide a more accurate estimate of the number of patients with both mental health and substance misuse problems and to ultimately provide a better service.

The Impact

The research has provided the ABMU Health Board and its primary care GP surgeries with vital evidence that can be used to help improve and change how its services are provided to patients.

“Thank you so much for this fantastic work – this will, I’m sure mean we will get the appropriate recognition of the scale of the problem of alcohol and substance misuse within the Health Board. I shall be able to strengthen our strategy to provide a greater focus on primary care now that we have this data.”
Primary Care Provider, ABMU.

For more information about mental health visit www.nhsdirect.wales.nhs.uk/encyclopaedia/m/article/mentalhealth

Enquiries to Sarah Toomey, Communications Officer, Farr Institute CIPHER
s.toomey@swansea.ac.uk

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