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There is an apparent difference in the healthcare treatment meted to those suffering mental health problems, and learning disabilities, a study has found.// An investigation of 8 million health records by the Disability Rights Commission has opened a can of worms.

The study spanning 18 months showed that the mentally ill have a propensity suffer other illness alongside, as compared to the rest of the people. This is due to the apathy of the healthcare system that doesn’t screen such patients appropriately, to treat a disease or illness before the condition worsens.

"The acid test of a national health service is not whether it works for those who are generally healthy, but whether it benefits those with the greatest risk," said DRC chairman, Bert Massie.

Getting physically ill because of neglect is a burning issue; when people with a mental health problem come for checkup they should ideally be screened for the prevalence of other diseases. The study labeled “diagnostic overshadowing” explains how any sign of illness is associated with a mental problem, so in effect the physical illness is not diagnosed, hence left untreated.

In addition, patients are disappointed with the bad attitude of the staff, general practitioners, and an overall difficulty in getting across to the system. The government is already acting on the study report, and is coming up with a plan to redress the problem


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