Mental Health Trust spends thousands sending patients elsewhere
Nottinghamshire’s mental health service has spent more than £800,000 on sending patients for treatment elsewhere over a three-month period.
New data from NHS Digital shows that Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust paid out £818,004 on out of area placements between November 1, 2016, and January 31, 2017.
Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust spent £278,437 on patients in beds elsewhere over the same period. In November last year, the Nottinghamshire trust spent £176,897 on out of area placements – a cost that increased to £313,784 in December last year, and rose again to £327,329 in January.
The placements – which came at an average daily cost of £540 – saw patients spend the equivalent of 2,774 days in beds outside of Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.
In January, 40 patients were sent for treatment elsewhere – 15 of which were sent more than 100 km away from the county. The figures were the same for December last year, while 10 of the 35 patients in beds outside of the trust were sent more than 100 km away.
NHS Digital began collecting the data from October 17, last year but data for the trust only became available from the beginning of November last year.
The data comes after a report by the Care Quality Commission unveiled the “hidden” strain on Nottinghamshire’s mental health services.
The report revealed that an increasing demand on the service resulted in 59 patients being admitted into out of area placements – some as far as Manchester and London – between May and November last year.
Nottinghamshire Healthcare is based at Duncan Macmillan House
A spokeswoman for Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust said it is these same pressures that have forced the trust to increase the amount of money it spends on beds out of area. She said: “The trust picks up the costs of sending a patient out of area. The costs vary depending on where they are sent and how long they are there for – typically a private provider will charge more than an NHS provider. “An increase in days spent out of area is the result of an increased need for adult mental health beds within the trust.”
The CQC report, published on Tuesday, February 14, showed that bed pressures forced the trust to use Section 136 suites – usually reserved to assess patients detained by police under the Mental Health Act – to admit 12 patients.
Nottinghamshire Police Sergeant Anthony Horsnall said: “Nottinghamshire Police recognises the pressures of the availability of mental health beds in both Nottinghamshire and across the country, and is aware of the policy whereby health-based place of safety beds have been stepped up to mental health inpatient beds to manage these pressures.
“This does impact upon police resources and we are in dialogue with Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to ensure that health-based places of safety are available when the police detain someone using Section 136 of the Mental Health Act.
“Nottinghamshire Police has reduced the number of those detained in police cells using this power by 93 percent since 2013/14.” Councillor Joyce Bosnjak, chairwoman of Nottingham County Council’s Health and wellbeing board, said: “We fully recognise the need to reduce mental health problems and improve access to early interventions in the community to prevent the need for crisis admissions.
“This is an issue on which we will work closely with the clinical commissioning group on over the coming months.”
Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is currently undertaking a project to establish how many beds it will need over the next five years.
The closure of Mental Health Wards at the QMC over the last few years to save money has been disastrous. I have heard that patients have been actually transferred as far as Harrowgate and Edinburgh due to insufficient beds in Notts! Imagine the amount of distress this can cause patients and their families!
Source Nottingham Post