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MENTAL HEALTH PATIENTS TRAVELLING 79 MILES FOR BED ‘NOT ACCEPTABLE’

Mental Health charity MIND has said that mental health patients having to travel as far as 79 miles (127km) for a bed is “not acceptable”.

A report looking at the 226 English Clinical Commissioning Groups in October 2014 says the average journey for a patient was 13 miles. However, six teams saw patients travelling on average more than 62 miles.

NHS statistics have shown that patients in Brighton and Great Yarmouth and Waveney faced the longest average distance.

The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) report said that the majority of people had a distance of less than 6 miles (10km), but one in 10 people (1,665) had a distance of 31 miles (50km) or more and one in 20 (778) people have to travel 62 miles (100km) or more.

Vicki Nash, Head of Policy and Campaigns at MIND, has said: “When someone is in a mental health crisis, they are at their most vulnerable. A good support network of friends and family can play a key part in recovery, but if someone is sent far from home… friends and family may be less likely to be able to visit.

“We know that bed numbers have been dropping over the last few years, making it harder for people to get the help they need, when and where they need it. It’s not acceptable.”

A spokesman for HealthEast, the CCG for Great Yarmouth and Waveney, said: "Beds for mental health patients are arranged by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, who will look for the closest available appropriate bed to the patient's home.

"It is important to note that patients living in Great Yarmouth and Waveney are only placed out of the area very occasionally and when appropriate.

"We will continue to work with the mental health trust to ensure people are treated as close to home as possible."

A spokesman for Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG said: "Geographically, the Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG covers a large area, and in its report, the HSCIC recognises this as a major factor affecting distances travelled by the 15 east Suffolk mental health patients.

"The priority of the CCG is to always place patients in the most appropriate care setting as close to home as possible, and this happens in the majority of cases.”

Swain & Co Solicitors LLP work tirelessly to assist vulnerable people and ensure that their rights under the Mental Health Act are observed.  If you, a family member or friend are experiencing problems or are detained under the Mental Health Act contact our team today on 023 92 483322.

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