Care Pathways

03.12.19

NHS spending £2.5m a week treating mental health patients out of area

The NHS is spending an estimated £2.5m every week providing out of area treatment for mental health patients.

The figures show that in the last twelve months, the NHS has spent £128m on patients, with some being forced to travel over 300km and several hours from their home for a bed.

These shortages occur due to a lack of hospital beds locally, with the number of out of area placements due to bed shortages rising by four per cent from last year.

Up to 8,400 such placements were recorded across England.

Of those recorded, 2,060 lasted between one and three months. A further 310 lasted over 91 nights.

Over 3,000 of these placements took place 100km or more from patients’ homes.

READ MORE: Pilot sites to tackle out-of-area mental health patient placements go live

READ MORE: CQC: Serious mental health sufferers face long stays in rehab far away from home

Luciana Berger, spokesperson for health, social care and wellbeing for the Liberal Democrats – who have pledged as part of their election manifesto to end these out of area placements and increase mental health spending over the next five years by £11bn – said: “It is totally unacceptable.

“Vulnerable people who are suffering from mental ill health are being sent hundreds of miles across the country, and often at huge expense, instead of being treated near their home and families.

“The [current government] have repeatedly said they would eliminate out of area placements – and yet there has been an increase this year of the number of patients being treated far away from where they live. This is an abject failure with a real human and financial cost.

“[The Liberal Democrats will seek to] end the use of inappropriate out of area placements and build a brighter future, by investing an extra £11bn to transform our NHS mental health services and ensure patients receive the care they deserve.”

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