UK’s NHS looks at making inroads into K’taka healthcare

UK’s NHS looks at making inroads into K’taka healthcare

(L-R) Chief executive of a hospice of the UK’s National Health Service John Lawlor, director of Cadabam’s Group Sandesh Cadabam, British deputy high commissioner Dominic McAllister and former secretary of Indian Psychiatric Society B R Madhukar on Monday.

With the treatment gap for mental disorders in Karnataka standing at nearly 70%, a hospice of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) has signed a collaborative agreement with an Indian company to deliver mental health services in the state. 

Britain praised the collaboration, which will initially be limited to Karnataka. “The practical benefits are huge, but the potential financial benefits over the next five years could be £5 million to the UK,” British Deputy High Commissioner, Dominic McAllister, said on Monday. 

The aim is to provide standardised mental care along three arcs: de-addiction, school mental health and social mental health. 

Dr Rajani P, the deputy director of Karnataka’s Department of Health and Family Welfare, confirmed the 70% treatment gap but doubted figures from the UK’s Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (NTW) and its collaborative partner in India, the Cadabam’s Group, that there’s just one mental health professional for 1,00,000 people in Karnataka. 

“Those figures are from 2014,” she said, explaining that things are now much better, with every district hospital in Karnataka possessing a psychiatric unit staffed with one psychiatrist, one psychologist and one social worker.

“Besides, every district in Karnataka has a health programme and within this District Mental Help Programme, we have 33 psychiatrists, 31 psychologists, 40 social workers, 31 psychiatrist nurses, 31 community nurses, 30 record keepers and 30 ward assistants,” she added.

She said that the figures are just from her department and that the population of mental health professionals in other areas, including the private sector, is higher.