Patients with medically unexplained symptoms often have unmet health needs due to the complex nature of their conditions.

In 2014 The Trust began looking at innovative solutions to meet the needs of these patients in Newham. Through partnership work between primary and secondary care providers, GPs and medical specialists, the project allowed us to explore how to best develop an integrated care pathway across East London for patients with functional bodily distress symptoms. Patients who took part in the project appear to have benefited from the holistic approach to care; the findings showed a reduction in the number of physical health complaints reported by patients and an improvement in the feedback given by patients relating to their quality of life.

Following this work the Trust has now been awarded further funding from the Health Foundation to enable the findings from the pilot to be shared across the wider NHS to spread improvement and support dissemination.

We are now looking to carry out a number of activities throughout 2016 to share learning, knowledge and skills with clinicians, particularly staff who work in primary care settings (GPs and nurses). This includes the development of a teaching and training package for primary care providers, an information resource for commissioners and a website/ online resource for clinicians across the country who are working with patients with medically unexplained symptoms.

The project is being led by Professor Frank Röhricht, Associate Medical Director  at the Trust who is looking to develop and support a network of interested clinical staff in order to better understand the options available to deliver a high quality and cost effective service to patients who present with medically unexplained symptoms.