Up to 50 mental health patients in Norfolk and Suffolk had to be sent to other parts of England last week because of a shortage of beds and a shortfall in funding.
In June Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt criticised the “unacceptable” distances Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) patients had to travel for beds.
The NSFT said the trust was committed to cutting the use of out-of-area beds.
It cut the number from 34 to six by September, but it has gone up to 50.
The BBC has been told that last week NSFT mental health patients were sent as far afield as Darlington, Harrogate, Brighton, Woking, Nottingham and Hemel Hempstead.
OOA patient’s story
An NSFT mental health patient, who has asked not to be named, told the BBC that earlier this year she suffered from mental heath problems and was assessed by staff.
It was decided she needed a mental health bed but no bed could be found in Norfolk and Suffolk, so a bed was found for her at a hospital in Nottingham.
She said: “A private ambulance came at 10 o’clock at night to drive me to the hospital. My friends could not come and see me (because of the distance). My husband could not come and see me.
“In the end I discharged myself. I did not want to be so far away from home.
“It made my recovery slower. It was detrimental to my health and my husband’s.
“It feels like the NHS has failed me if I can’t be seen in my own area and they spend money to send me outside.”
Of course, there is no comment from Norman ‘mental health champion’ Lamb on the disaster in mental health services in Norfolk and Suffolk.
Click on the image below to read Nikki Fox’s and Nic Rigby’s article in full on the BBC News website: