BBC News: Mental health patients sent ‘hundreds of miles’ for care

4,447 patients sent out of their area for treatment in 2014-15 – up 23.1% from 2013-14

“I didn’t know where I was, I didn’t have a clue. I knew I was a long, long way from home as it had taken so long to get there but I didn’t know where in the country I was.”

The trusts with the biggest increases in patients treated out of area from 2013-14 to 2014-15 were:

  • Avon and Wiltshire: 162 to 446
  • Camden and Islington: 154 to 338
  • Norfolk and Suffolk: 112 to 270
  • Southern Health: 171 to 372

Previous research by BBC News and Community Care found that more than 2,100 psychiatric beds have been closed in England since 2011.

Dr Martin McShane, NHS England’s director for people with long term conditions, said the Mental Health Taskforce had been set up to improve mental health services over the next five years.

He added: “We are determined to improve mental health services and address the distress and unwarranted costs associated with out-of-area placements which are unacceptable.”

This after the opaque and unaccountable NHS England ignored parity of esteem and cut mental health by more than physical health, failed to stop the crisis for years and oversaw the closure of more than 2,000 beds. The CCGs in Norfolk said out of area placements were unacceptable and gave themselves a deadline of April 2014 to end the inhumane transportation of people in crisis across the country. But the CCGs couldn’t be bothered to keep their pledge and the crisis became even worse. The NHS Blame Game goes on and the NHS continues to fail those in crisis.

Read Michael Buchanan’s full article on the BBC News website by clicking on the image below:

BBC News Mental health patients sent 'hundreds of miles' for care

4 thoughts on “BBC News: Mental health patients sent ‘hundreds of miles’ for care”

  1. Did anyone hear the response of the Royal College of Psychiatry? The problem is one of “bed-blocking”! Not enough social care support, not enough support in the community to prevent admissions. Sounded just like NSFT’s comments at the beginning of this crisis.

    The fact is that closing beds saves a lot of money – in theory, except when you end up paying a fortune to private hospitals because the demand for admission is so great. We have the worst of both worlds – severe cuts to community care combined with huge reduction in inpatient provision. Our challenge to NSFT at the beginning of this crisis was: PROVE YOU DONT NEED THE BEDS, GET WARD NUMBERS DOWN BELOW 85% AND THEN SEE IF YOU CAN AFFORD TO CLOSE A WARD!

    Instead, despite the continued transportation of patients across Britain, the Trust ploughs ahead with the closure of the acute ward at Carlton Court. As for bed blocking, what is wrong with patients coming into hospital, recovering from acute illness, and then only returning home gradually and when their social problems have been resolved? We have seen too many examples of premature discharges putting people at risk. Shortage of beds means overcrowded wards and below standard care. Certainly we need alternatives to admission, so why has NSFT not committed themselves to funding places at Ashcroft Care Home (The only all-female care home we have). It costs £500+ a week at Ashcroft, private psychiatric hospitals cost £500+ a night!

  2. …And its not just the cost of a private bed. What about the costs of all the private ambulances transporting service users to these private hospitals, hundreds of miles……or the reimbursement of travel for relatives having to drive, or go by train etc to see them loved ones…………Its a complete national scandal…and I’m guessing no one will be held to account for it.  For those families that have suffered this misery, and even in some cases the death of a loved one,  as a direct or indirect result of this complete mess…I am truly sorry.

  3. Dr Martin Mcshane said ‘ NHS England has set up a task force to improve mental health services over the next five years’……………Well, its taken three years to get us into this mess……so another three years of reforms, and so called ‘efficiency savings’………..will it be in a better state in 2018???………..Rhetorical question.

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