Innovative unit welcomes NHS director of mental health

South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust welcomed NHS England’s director of mental health to its Fieldhead site on Tuesday 14 February to see the innovative work one of its clinics has been piloting to monitor people’s physical health.

Karen Turner visited the Trust’s Briarfields unit in Wakefield, which has been supported by the Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) in introducing a clinical tool to keep a record of the physical health of its service users with serious mental health conditions.

The tool is designed to guide clinicians through a simple physical health check, highlighting any areas of concern. It allows staff to check a range of things such as bloods, heart rate, and weight, enabling them to offer further support if needed.

The unit provides electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), Clozapine monitoring (a medicine which is used in treating schizophrenia), and electrocardiogram (ECG) monitoring services. It has been accredited by Royal College of Psychiatrists’ ECT Accreditation Service (ECTAS) for the last eight years.

Dr Adrian Berry, medical director at the Trust, said: “Improving physical and mental health is one of our key objectives as a Trust, and using this tool is making a real difference to the lives of our service users. People in contact with mental health services die, on average, 20 years earlier than the general population. By keeping a continuous eye on people’s physical health, we are able to spot any concerns and get them the right treatment as quickly as possible.”

Speaking of her visit, Karen said: “This gives another dimension to care. People will come to mental health services having had little focus on their physical health, but offering this check helps to treat the whole person. It seems so obvious to do. What I’ve seen at the Trust has been very impressive and we need to make sure that everywhere is just as good.”

Richard Stubbs, Managing Director of the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN said “The role of the Academic Health Science Network is to spread innovation that can support the NHS to improve patient outcomes. Through the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN, the clinical tool, developed in Bradford is being rolled out nationally and it’s great that South West Yorkshire Partnership Foundation Trust are leading the adoption process.

To find out more about the Trust, visit

To find out more about the eLearning module developed by Yorkshire & Humber AHSN in collaboration with experts in the field of mental health to support clinicians in the use of the clinical tool please click here.

The eLearning module  is a free, easy to use training package designed to  give primary care professionals the confidence to address the physical health of people with a serious mental illness.