Improving psycho-social care can reduce burdens and costs to the NHS

Our work in health

Changing Faces has worked with a wide range of health and social care professionals for more than twenty years, encouraging the integration of psychosocial rehabilitation into hospital and clinic settings for people who have disfigurements and their families.

Every year, over 540,000 people in the UK are estimated to acquire a disfiguring condition to their face, hands or body – from birth, accident, cancer surgery, skin and eye conditions, from facial paralysis and from medical accidents, such as mistakes in cosmetic procedures.

The rights of people with disfigurements are protected in law by the Equality Act 2010.

Most people will come into contact with the NHS at a GP clinic, A&E or via a specialist hospital service. Many medical specialties provide services for them including dermatology, plastic surgery, burns, cranio-facial surgery, maxillo-facial surgery, ophthalmology, neurology, general surgery and oncology.

Changing Faces advocates the development of health care that comprehensively and routinely addresses patients’ physical and psychosocial needs as part of the patient care pathway. For example, our ‘Look At Me’ campaign for patients with skin conditions focuses on providing better and more information, increasing awareness amongst health and social care professionals, and improving both access to and quality of psycho-social therapies.

We influence and support the work of clinicians and professionals in the many specialties that care for people who have disfiguring conditions as well as those in primary care. An increasing number of health and social care professionals are now seeking to embed psychosocial interventions into their care as a crucial part of best practice and as an essential component to successful rehabilitation.

Adequate psychosocial care not only decreases the distress experienced by patients, it also lowers costs in the longer term and helps to reduce health inequalities.

Changing Faces provides health and social care professionals with the resources, strategies and training programmes to enable teams to place the psychosocial care needs of patients at the centre of their practice.

For more information on our work in health, please contact Ivon van Heugten, Policy Advisor in Health, or call 0345 450 0275.