An investigation by the British Medical Association (‘BMA’) they discovered that there is a rise in the number of adult mental health patients placed in out-of-area beds.
The shock study by the BMA revealed a startling 40% rise in mental health patients being sent out of their local area. The BMA report, compiled using data from trusts and clinical commissioning groups, revealed huge gaps in mental health services across the UK, with 5,876 adults sent out of their local area for mental health treatment in 2016/17.
Patients being sent miles away from home can have devastating effects. A recent inquest was heard by Coroner Carlyon, in to the death of a mental health patient from Cornwall who had committed suicide whilst on home leave. It was noted by a psychiatrist that the move to the hospital in Somerset was ‘very likely’ to have had a bearing on his death.
This case was raised with health secretary Jeremy Hunt and NHS England late last year by Coroner Carlyon in a ‘report to prevent future deaths’ to flag the chance of tragedies occurring under similar circumstances.
Coroner Carlyon urged a review of bed numbers in Cornwall to end the ‘routine’ use of out-of-area admissions. ‘I understand though that this is a national issue,’ her report tells Jeremy Hunt.
Jeremy Hunt said the government was delivering “a quiet revolution in mental health provision” but the BMA said its probe revealed “a system at breaking point”.
More than half of the 44 trusts areas the BMA examined, including Cornwall, admitted more than 100 patients to out-of-area beds last year.
Conroys Solicitors LLP can provide advice to patients who have been detained under the Mental Health Act 1983.