CNTW signs Equally Well UK Charter

Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW), a leading provider of mental health, learning disability and neurological care has signed up to the Equally Well UK Charter, a group of over 70 organisations who are working together to improve the physical health of people with mental illness.

The aim of the Equally Well collaboration is to reduce the life expectancy gap between people living with mental illness and the general population.

We are proud to join Equally Well UK and demonstrate our commitment to highlighting and improving the physical as well as mental health of the people we support. By signing, we are pledging to improve access to good physical health support for the patients accessing our services.

Rajesh NadkarniExecutive Medical Director and Deputy Chief Executive for the Trust

The life expectancy of someone living with schizophrenia or psychosis in the UK is around 15-20 years shorter than someone without a mental illness. (That is equivalent to the average life expectancy in the UK in the 1950s.)

This is mainly caused by poorer physical health; people with severe mental illnesses are two to three times more likely than average to have conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. They often face more difficulties in accessing good physical health support. CNTW is committed to changing this.

Rajesh Nadkarni, Executive Medical Director and Deputy Chief Executive for the Trust, signed the Equally Well UK Charter on behalf of CNTW. Rajesh explained, “We are proud to join Equally Well UK and demonstrate our commitment to highlighting and improving the physical as well as mental health of the people we support.

“By signing, we are pledging to improve access to good physical health support for the patients accessing our services.”

We have some wide-ranging initiatives as well as focused actions…For example, our newly launched QUIT Team are providing tobacco dependency treatment and support to service users across the Trust, helping people to quit smoking for good and reap the health and wellbeing benefits of that effort.

Dr Susanna Millspublic health specialty registrar at CNTW

Dr Susanna Mills, public health specialty registrar at CNTW, who led the process of the Trust joining the Equally Well UK Charter, explained some of the ways the Trust is already acting on this pledge.

“We have some wide-ranging initiatives as well as focused actions, which are being identified through several groups. We have the Trust’s Physical Health and Wellbeing Group, Public Health and Lifestyles Group, Food and Nutrition Group, and A Weight Off Your Mind – a regional programme for tackling unhealthy weight in people experiencing mental illness. We have appointed a Physical Health and Wellbeing Lead to act as ambassador for this work and help us to address key priorities.

“For example, our newly launched QUIT Team are providing tobacco dependency treatment and support to service users across the Trust, helping people to quit smoking for good and reap the health and wellbeing benefits of that effort.

“As with everything we do, the involvement of our current and former service users will be vital. They bring their lived experience to inform and guide our approach.”

Emma Bailey, Project Manager for Equally Well UK, said: “We are delighted to have Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust join Equally Well and make a commitment to improving physical health and life expectancy for people with a diagnosis of severe mental illness. We look forward to working with the trust to make a real difference to people’s lives in the north of England.”

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