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New priorities for adults with bipolar disorder

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Adults with bipolar will need better referrals Adults with bipolar will need better referrals

A new quality standard to help more adults with bipolar disorder access better care has been released by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

One of the priorities in the quality standard is to ensure that anyone who goes to their GP with symptoms of depression and has also experienced lack of control of their mood or behaviours for four days in a row or longer is referred for specialist mental health assessment.

Alongside drug treatments, the NICE guidelines also recommend that people with bipolar disorder should be offered a range of options to help them manage, including talking therapies and structured support programmes for education or work.

The standard includes statements to tackle variation in mental health such as psychological therapies that have been specifically developed for adults with bipolar disorder, placement on an employment scheme and a physical health assessment at least once a year.

Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive and director of health and social care at NICE, said: 'There are many areas across the country providing high-quality one-to-one care to people with mental health disorders. However, living with a severe mental illness, such as bipolar disorder, can affect people in all areas and they often need support beyond drug options to manage their symptoms.

'This new quality standard sets out the key areas to prioritise from the NICE guideline so that local services can make sure they are delivering care that will improve quality of life for people with bipolar disorder. We want all adults with bipolar disorder to be confident in their local mental health services so they seek help when they need it the most.'

A CQC 2014 review of community mental health services found that there was variation in the quality of care across England. While most trusts were performing well with direct care, they were generally performing worse on questions about providing support, advice and information.

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