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Sunday, 21 September 2014

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Worries over patient’s 350-mile trip to Cumbria

CONCERNS about a national shortage of mental health beds have been raised after it was claimed one patient had to travel 350 miles from Kent to Cumbria for care.

A councillor in the south of England said the patient in question ended up at Carlisle’s Carleton Clinic because there were no other beds free.

Some experts have blamed a national shortage of inpatient psychiatric beds for an increase in suicides.

In Cumbria, there were 43 patients who had to travel out of the county last year for short-term in-patient mental health care. However, only nine of these cases were due to a shortage of available beds.

The Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which runs mental health services, said the rest were because either the patient was already out of the county when they became ill, required specialist services or was a result of the temporary closure of admissions to the Ramsey Unit dementia unit in Barrow, which failed a national inspection.

On the other hand, a similar number of patients – 60 between April 2013 and December 2013 – also came to Cumbria for inpatient care.

Sara Munro, acting director of quality and nursing, said they were working to improve facilities.

She said: “The trust does everything it can to ensure that patients are treated as close to home as possible.”

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