The importance of getting evidence into health service decision making, even where there is uncertainty
22 Jun, 16 | by BMJ Clinical Evidence
By David Tovey
Earlier this week I attended the launch of a Kings Fund paper in the rarefied setting of Portcullis House, an annex of the Palace of Westminster. The subject was “Bringing together physical and mental health: A new frontier for integrated care”. A panel that included Presidents of the Royal Colleges of Physicians and Psychiatrists, was chaired by a member of the House of Lords. The diagnosis was an important and topical one: care for people with long term physical conditions is insufficiently holistic and frequently omits psychological effects. The mirror image is also true, perhaps with even more serious consequences: people with long term mental illness suffer and die as a consequence of inadequate physical care. So, unmet need in both scenarios and a stimulating basis on which to construct my Evidence Live 2016 presentation on the subject of “Translating Evidence into Better Quality Health Services”.
What is the appropriate response? In passing, I can’t help but notice that until very recently, it would have been inconceivable that such a meeting would not include at its centre, the crucial role of general practice or primary care. Yet, on this occasion, neither rated more than a passing reference, and the Royal College of General Practitioners was conspicuously absent. That seemed a problem – both for the NHS and for primary care itself. What about evidence? It would not be true to say that evidence was completely absent, but it was not central to the discussion that followed the presentations, and it ranked a long way behind “an increase in resourcing” in terms of its visibility as a potential solution. more…