In May we reported how mental health Trusts were becoming more dependable on private hospitals to deliver care to patients across the UK.

Now, the British Medical Association (BMA) has released NHS figures outlining almost 6,000 mental health patients are being sent out of their local area, at times travelling hundreds of miles away, to receive treatment.

Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Andrew Molodynski, of the BMA’s consultants committee, said “Being sent long distances for treatment has an impact on patients’ care and recovery. There have been tragic cases where coroners have ruled that the difficulties families have visiting a relative receiving care, as well as poor communication between hospitals in other regions and local mental health services contributed to deaths.“

In 2016-17, 5,876 patients were sent out of their area, compared to 4,213 in 2014-15.

The Liberal Democrats health spokesman Norman Lamb, said of the figures: “Ultimately, equality for mental health cannot be achieved when budgets are under such enormous pressure. We need to see a sustainable long-term funding settlement for the NHS and social care, and ministers should work politicians and others from across the political divide.”

Do you agree long-term funding needs to be agreed to ensure patients are treated closer to home? Let us know your thoughts.


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