By analysing GP data in South Wales, researchers were able to provide more accurate estimates of the number of people with both mental health and substance abuse problems. This information helps the local Health Board to better support this group of people.

Why was this work needed?

It is becoming more common for people to be diagnosed with both mental health and substance abuse problems, meaning that they have especially complex care needs. The Welsh Government was working on improving treatment for this group of people, but there was relatively little information about them, meaning that effective planning was difficult.

What happened?

75% of GP practices in the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board (ABMU), in South Wales, contributed data to this work and researchers used this data to estimate the current number of people facing both mental health and substance abuse problems.

What were the benefits?

This provides important evidence to support the Health Board in improving the services provided to people with both mental health and substance abuse problems. The researchers also identified that coding and recording systems at GP surgeries need to be improved so that information of this kind can be gathered more accurately in the future.

What type of data was involved?

Data from the SAIL Databank was linked to data from participating GP surgeries.

Data was de-personalised before being used and linkage took place within SAIL, a secure environment.

Who funded and collaborated on this work?

This work was a collaboration between the Farr Institute from Swansea University and the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board (ABMU), in South Wales.

Where can I go for more information?

Improving Care and Services for Patients with Mental Health and Substance Abuse Problems