•This article has been double-blind peer reviewed
Many people with mental ill health or learning disability die early, preventable deaths but steps can be taken to ensure their physical health needs are not overlooked
Neve J, Briers G (2016) Reducing inequalities in health and life expectancy. Nursing Times; 112: 5, 12-14.
The risk of premature death in people with severe mental illness or learning disabilities is significantly higher than the general population. This is mostly caused by treatable long-term conditions. This article describes research conducted to establish the evidence base and draw up priorities for action, along with the competencies mental health and learning disability nurses need to improve service users' physical healthcare.