More mental health patients sent hundreds of miles
Posted 20/05/2016 By: Julie Crossley
Nearly 5,500 mental health patients in England had to travel out of their area last year because of a lack of hospital beds.
Some patients had to travel nearly 300 miles, while one trust had to declare a major incident. The figures, obtained through Freedom of Information requests, are 13% higher than last year.
It can occasionally be appropriate to send a patient outside their area if they need highly specialised care, but experts say that routinely sending people away can increase the risk of suicide – and there have been repeated calls for the practice to be stopped.
The distances some patients had to travel include:
- Devon to Bradford – 286 miles
- Manchester to Southampton – 232 miles
- Leeds to Glasgow – 224 miles
Julie Crossley an Associate at Ashtons Legal comments “whilst on rare occasions it would be acceptable to send a patient to specialist unit, by and large the majority of mental health patients who find themselves many miles away from home are there because of a lack of beds locally, this is not acceptable.These vulnerable patients need support from family and friends in some respects more than those with a physical injury.As a firm we have represented numerous families who have had to deal with inadequacies in the Mental Health Services leading to suicides and serious self harm and removing patients from those who they rely on most is likely to lead to an increase in this type of litigation.
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