Mental health patients being sent out of Herts

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The number of mental health patients who have been sent out-of-area for inpatient treatment has trebled in one year.

Figures released by Hertfordshire Partnership Foundation Trust, which runs mental health and social care 
services across the county, show that there has been a 230 per cent increase in patients being sent to out of area 
hospitals.

A spokesman for Hertfordshire Partnership Foundation Trust, claimed this was in line with national trends.

She said: “The demand on acute admission beds has 
continued to be high over the past financial year, in line with the national picture, and funding has not always matched this surge, with mental health and learning 
disability services often 
taking a back seat to the 
financial demands of physical healthcare.”

She added: “Some individuals require complex or highly specialist beds in units which offer care we currently do not provide in Hertfordshire, for example, female psychiatric intensive care. Often in these instances the only specialist beds we are able to access are some distance away from Hertfordshire.”

The increasing number of people being sent away for mental health treatment has been described as “not a good experience for vulnerable and ill people.”

Roma Mills, involvement manager for Carers in Hertfordshire, has also pointed to national underfunding of mental health.

According to a Freedom Of Information issued by the Hertfordshire Partnership Foundation Trust said the number of patients who have been sent out-of-area has risen from 29 in 2013-14, to 98,in 2014-15.

Patients have been sent to hospitals up to 180 miles away, to places including Manchester and Northampton.

The cost of sending mental health patients out-of-area has also more than trebled, from £601,000 in 2013-14 to over £2million in 2014-15.

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