Children in Birmingham forced to travel hundreds of miles for NHS mental health treatment
NHS England figures acquired through a Freedom of Information request show that children across the country are having to travel hundreds of miles to receive mental health treatment on the NHS due to bed shortages. The statistics show that in the majority of cases, under-18s are being forced to travel over 100 miles, and up to 285 miles in the most extreme cases – with many of the young people diagnosed with serious and complex mental health problems. In the last year, a young patient from Birmingham had to travel 132 miles from their home to get treatment from the NHS.
Preet Kaur Gill, the member of parliament for Birmingham, Edgbaston, who has been campaigning for improvements in mental health provision for young people, said, “It is unacceptable that children and their families are being forced to travel far away from their homes to receive mental health treatment because of bed shortages. This is especially troubling at a time when these children are at their most vulnerable and require continuity of care.”
“The demand for young persons’ mental health provision is especially great in Birmingham, with it being Europe’s youngest city. Clinical Commissioning Groups need to identify where the gaps in provision are and commission services accordingly.”
“We know that vital services are being squeezed largely due to lack of investment and further cuts to funding. The Government must be held to account, and I will continue to call on them to increase spending on mental health services, ring-fence budgets, and increase the proportion of budgets spent on children and young people.”
If current trends continue, the Government will not meet its pledge to end out of area placements by 2021.