Integrating mental health and physical health services can lead to better patient care and significant savings, according to the NHS Confederation.

The confederation’s Mental Health Network said “impressive” savings could be gained by joining together care for people with long term health conditions such as diabetes and long-term mental illness.

A report looking at integrated services across the country found significant savings and a better service for patients.

A respiratory wellbeing clinic in the London boroughs of Sutton and Merton offered integrated cognitive therapy with health promotion for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The trusts reported substantial health gains, a reduction in depression and savings of £5 for every £1 spent on the clinic.

A therapist working with a diabetes team at Royal Sussex County Hospital helped reduce admission rates, reduce the workload of specialist nurses and patients showed better blood glucose levels during and after treatment.

Integrating mental health services into acute care at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals Trust’s City Hospital helped improve the quality of care and saved £4 for every £1 invested in the service.

Half of psychiatric patients also have physical health problems and long-term severe mental illness is associated with high levels of physical ill health.

At least £1 in every £8 spent on long term conditions is linked to poor mental health - £8bn to £13bn in total.

Steve Shrubb, director of the NHS Confederation’s Mental Health Network, said: “Patients do not define themselves by their illnesses and it is time the NHS came into line with them. If we do, this report sets out how that can be better for patients and save the service money.

“The case for making sure physical and mental health are integrated for long term conditions right across the NHS is becoming unarguable. The case studies show impressive increases in patient satisfaction and significant savings are up for grabs.”