New figures show mental health patients still sent out of local area due to bed shortages

Steve McCabe MP, Birmingham Selly Oak, has learnt that new figures out today show mental health patients in need of care in their local hospitals are still being sent out of the local area.

NHS data has revealed that across England there were 528 Out of Area Placements active at the end of December 2016, of which 96% were due to the lack of a local bed. In the Midlands 115 Out of Area Placements were due to no local bed and 60 patients were placed at establishments more than 60 miles from their home.

Steve first raised concerns about Out of Area Placements in Parliament and with local Commissioners in 2014 but it seems that since then things haven’t improved much and mental health still isn’t treated on a par with physical health. 

Last year, Lord Crisp, Chair of the Commission on Acute Adult Psychiatric Care led a review into the provision of acute inpatient psychiatric care for adults which recommended phasing out the practice of sending acutely ill patients long distances for non-specialist treatment by October 2017.

Around 500 mentally ill people are estimated to have to travel over 30 miles to be admitted to hospital every month. Steve said that given the latest statistics it’s hard to see how the practice of sending patients out of the local area will be phased out by this October.

Steve McCabe MP said:

“Over the past few years I’ve been contacted by many constituents who’ve had their loved ones sent out of the local area due to bed shortages. Today’s figures show that the situation across England hasn’t really improved despite the government’s talk of mental health being treated on the same basis as other illnesses and looking at the situation locally, I don’t see much progress at all.

“Patients need better local provision, they shouldn’t have to be sent miles away to get access to the right treatment. I’ll be asking the government how they intend to phase out this policy by October. I’m deeply sceptical this is anything more than another broken promise.”

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