The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has signed a consensus statement alongside the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, aimed at helping patients with mental health needs in acute hospitals.

The consensus statement highlights the need to provide timely, appropriate mental health assistance and side by side working between mental health teams and other specialties in acute hospitals in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

It recommends three broad principles:

  1. Dignity and equality of access
  2. Working side by side
  3. Clarity of communication

Professor Donal O’Donoghue, registrar at the Royal College of Physicians said: “Physical illness and Serious Mental Illness often coexist. Innumerable reports attest to poor outcomes, and yet there is compelling evidence that improvements in quality of care could help close this inequalities gap.

Mental health and physical health care teams working side by side and with service users can make that difference.

“I welcome this consensus statement - not only does it say the right things, but it also provides concrete examples of what individual practitioners and the organisations we working can do starting today.“