Young people in Yorkshire '˜forced to travel' for NHS mental health care

Seven out of 10 children and adolescents with severe mental health problems were admitted to hospitals outside of their area last year, new figures reveal.

Dr Gary Wannan, of the British Medical Association.

NHS England data obtained by the British Medical Association shows 69 per cent of child and adolescent admissions were classed ‘out of area’ in 2016/17 – a 12 per cent rise on the previous year.

The problem is particularly acute in Yorkshire and the Humber, where the number has almost doubled.

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There were 232 such admissions in the region in 2015/16 and 372 in the current year to January 31, with the projected figure for the full year standing at 446.

The BMA’s analysis found this would equate to a 92 per cent year-on-year rise, topped only by the South West at 106 per cent.

Dr Gary Wannan, the BMA community care committee chairman, said: “These figures show, alarmingly, that well over half of patients are being placed out of area at a time when they are at their most vulnerable.

“NHS England has promised action on this and we need to have a very clear plan about how it will roll this out to improve this situation. It can be an incredible wrench for children to leave their homes and being based far away is not going to help a young person in crisis.”

The figures, released during Mental Health Awareness Week, mirror those brought to light by The Yorkshire Post in March.

Our special investigation found vulnerable people with mental health problems in the region were being sent up to 60 miles from home for treatment because of a shortage of beds.

Yorkshire patients were sent away for treatment on around 230 occasions in a four-month period, analysis of NHS data found.

Dr Wannan said: “In some areas we have seen the rate of investment improve so patients don’t have to be treated so far from home; in other areas, patients haven’t been so fortunate.

“NHS England must ensure that, especially in these areas, the money gets through to local community teams so they can make a real difference to the lives of children, young people and their families.”