The dangerous practice of sending people with a mental illness hundreds of miles away from home for weeks at a time continues in England, according to new analysis published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
Despite Government pledges to end the shameful practice, known as inappropriate out of area placements, by March 2021, almost 206,000 days have been spent by patients out of area in the 12 months since the deadline passed.
Being far away from home, with friends and family not being able to visit, can leave patients feeling extremely isolated and emotionally distressed with devastating, long-lasting consequences for their mental health.
Not only that, but it comes at a huge cost to the NHS. The health service spent £102 million on inappropriate out of area placements last year – the equivalent to the cost of the annual salary of over 900 consultant psychiatrists.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists is calling on the NHS to adopt a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to inappropriate out of area placements and to take urgent action to ensure all patients get the care they need from properly staffed, specialist services in their local area.
Read the Royal College of Psychiatrists' detailed new analysis (PDF) on the complex problem of inappropriate out of area placements.
Read Simon's disorientating experience of being separated from his family.