Health And Lifestyle For The Over 50s

Too Many Mental Health Patients Having to Travel for Care

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A report by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) has highlighted how many mental health patients in the UK are having to travel as far as 79 miles to receive the care they need.

The report looked at the 226 English clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in October 2014. It says that the average journey for a mental health patient is 13 miles, but six teams saw patients travelling, on average, more than 62 miles. Those in Brighten and Great Yarmouth and Waveney typically had the longest distance to travel.

The HSCIC report says: “The data shows that people living in the South and East of England, particularly in the CCGs covering large geographic areas, such as NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG (median of 94.4km to treatment for 15 people treated) are more likely to travel further to treatment on average.”

The mental health charity Mind has highlighted some of the reasons why mental patients having to travel for care is a problem, pointing out how such a change of location has the potential to disrupt recovery.

“When someone is in a mental health crisis, they are at their most vulnerable,” says Vicki Nash, head of policy and campaigns at Mind. “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.”