Mental health patients sent ‘hundreds of miles’ for care
By Michael Buchanan
Social Affairs Correspondent, BBC News
15 July 2015
From the section UK
Some patients had to travel up to 370 miles for treatment
The number of mental health patients in England who had to travel away from their local area to get care has risen by almost a quarter over the past year, figures seen by the BBC suggest.
Some patients have been sent hundreds of miles for treatment because no beds are available locally, the data shows.
The online journal Community Care sent Freedom of Information requests to all 56 English mental health trusts.
NHS England said it was determined to improve mental health services.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists said delayed discharge and poor social care were exacerbating the problem.
Data from 37 trusts that responded showed there were 4,447 patients sent out of their area for treatment in 2014-15 – up 23.1% from 2013-14, when 3,611 patients were sent out of their area.
There was also an increase in the cost of caring for these patients – from £51.4m in 2013-14 to £65.1m in 2014-15, figures from 29 trusts showed.
According to the data, the longest journeys carried out by patients were trips from Bristol to Livingston (370 miles), Cumbria to London (270 miles), and Southampton to Harrogate (260 miles).
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Source:: BBC UK