MENTAL heath patients die 20 years earlier, new research has round.

Analysis by NHS England today reveals that patients who have had contact with mental health services are also two to four times more likely to die from cancer, circulatory or respiratory disease than the rest of the population.

The research research, which is published by Sussex and East Surrey Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP),works with various health and social care organisations across the region to focus on how patient care can be improved.

They found that 20% of all A&E attendances could be attributed to mental health service users – who make up only 7% of the overall population.

They required emergency hospital treatment three times as often as the res of the population.

Sam Allen, CEO of Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which runs mental health services across Sussex said: "The fact you end up living up to 20 years less if you are someone using mental health services is truly shocking. It shows that health and social care services aren’t meeting the physical health needs of people with mental health problems.”

“Getting a grip on this is about saving lives. It’s also about making sure we use every penny of public money as wisely and effectively as possible. By reducing smoking rates among people with mental health problems, for example, we could reduce 1,000 hospital admissions a year, saving £1.8m that could be invested elsewhere.”

Of 4,120 self-harm related hospital admissions in 2014-15, 3,460 patients had mental health problems, with the vast majority relating to patients with psychoses. Treating mental health patients for self-harm related injuries cost £2.8million.

The report found that reducing avoidable hospital admissions could save up to £1.9m in A&E admissions and £46.8 in inpatient care.

The data also showed that coastal West Sussex has the most mental health service users in the region (27,498) compared to 19,963 in Brighton and Hove. However Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford had the highest mortality rate of 529 deaths per 100,000 population.

Sussex Partnership's chief medical officer Dr Rick Fraser said: "None of this is really news to clinicians working in mental health. Variations of the life expectancy statistic have actually been kicking around for quite a few years now. But we’re not really seeing an improvement in the situation, despite the increased awareness of mental health I just mentioned.

"I can’t think of a single other area of healthcare where statistics like this would be acceptable in today’s society.

"The health service, frankly, has done a pretty shocking job of looking out for the physical health needs of people with mental health problem, so let’s get our act together and start translating integrated care and partnership working from a fuzzy ideal into tangible action. "