Hertfordshire mental health patients treated as far away as Durham and Greater Manchester

For privacy reasons all the data is rounded to the nearest multiple of five and specific figures are not released

Tuesday, 24th August 2021, 9:59 am
Updated Tuesday, 24th August 2021, 10:00 am

Patients in Hertfordshire admitted with acute mental health concerns have been treated as far away as Durham and Bury, according to new data.

The figures also revealed that the responsible NHS Trust in Hertfordshire has spent more than £2.5million on inappropriate placements for people needing mental health treatment.

The figures, published on August 12, revealed how many organisations had active ‘out of area placements’ in May 2021 in relation to acute mental health treatment.

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Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust said they have placed the patients with acute mental health concerns “because a suitable bed has not been available for them closer to home”.

The data has been published every month for five years after the Government committed to eliminate ‘inappropriate’ out of area placements by 2020-2021.

However, the figures reveal that the trust responsible for mental health services in Hertfordshire has spent more than £2.5million on around 140 inappropriate placements in the first six months of 2021.

An out of area placement is defined when someone with acute mental health needs who requires acute inpatient care is admitted to a unit that does not form part of their usual local community mental health service, and where the person cannot be visited regularly by their care co-ordinator to ensure continuity of care and effective discharge planning.

For privacy reasons all the data is rounded to the nearest multiple of five and specific figures are not released.

Approximately 145 out of area placements were started this year, only around five of those were not deemed inappropriate.

The figures also breakdown how far patients had to travel for treatment.

The data reveals in the first half of this year around 65 patients within Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust have been treated at least 100km away from the county.

During the same time period, around 15 people had been sent for treatment more than 300km away.

Around 60 people were given inappropriate placements between 25km and 100km away from Hertfordshire, with around 25 more patients within 25km.

The newly released information also includes which trust or operator received patients from the Hertfordshire trust.

It reveals that in May patients were treated in County Durham, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire.

The providers furthest away from Hertfordshire included Cygnet Victoria House in Darlington, Cygnet Appletree in Durham and Cygnet Hospital in Bierley, near Bradford.

Other patients were treated in Birmingham, Bristol and Norfolk.

Estimates included in the report indicate that inappropriate placements have cost the trust £2,539,880 this year.

Of the 57 trusts to respond to the NHS, Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust had the 14th highest cost for inappropriate placements this year.

The figures add that 83 per cent of placements were for acute adult mental health care, 16 per cent were to a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit and one per cent was for older adult mental health care (organic and functional).

A spokesperson for NHS Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust said: “Service users will generally be placed in an out of area bed because the relevant specialist resource is not available in or near to Hertfordshire.

"We work to place the service user in the most appropriate service for their needs, and this may include an out of area placement.

“We have recently had to place people needing acute mental health care in beds some distance from Hertfordshire, because a suitable bed has not been available for them closer to home.

"In these circumstances, we always work to return people to an appropriate service in Hertfordshire as soon as possible. This may also include caring for the person in the community.”