Mental health charity, Mind has spoken out about the unacceptable distances that patients are being forced to travel for a bed.
Despite the fact that a 2014 report showed that the average journey for a patient is 13 miles, many teams across the UK have seen patients travelling on average more than 100km. NHS statistics show that those in Brighton, Great Yarmouth and Waveney face the longest average distance.
Vicki Nash, Head of Policy and Campaigns at the charity commented:
“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 away 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.”
The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) report argued that the majority of people have a distance of less than 10km but that one in 10 people have a distance of 50km or more and one in 20 have to travel 100km or more.
A spokesman for HealthEast said that patients are only placed out of the area very occasionally and where appropriate but that they will continue to work with the mental health trust to ensure that people are treated as close to home as possible.
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