BBC News: Norfolk and Suffolk mental health patients in beds miles from home

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:

BBC News Norfolk and Suffolk mental health patients in beds miles from home

3 thoughts on “BBC News: Norfolk and Suffolk mental health patients in beds miles from home”

  1. As I work in elderly mental health the issue of out of area beds is continuing to cause major concern to us, on several occasions we have been unable to locate an acute bed for our patients who are often in distress. Expecting elderly patients to be sectioned and removed from their home is distressing to them, and their family at the best of times BUT to remove them out of area as far as Cheadle & Hemel Hempstead at £1000 per day is doubly distressing; that is if you can locate a bed in the first place; which leaves us managing these patients in their own home using out of hours services that are not equipped to mange. And on occasion using NSFT nursing staff to work out of their remit in providing extra 1-1. This is NOT acceptable, we care deeply about our patients and wish that NSFT hadn’t taken such a leap backwards in care provision, The  NSFT executive have destroyed a generally well functioning services and left our patients/family in distress and staff demoralised, stressed, and depressed.

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