Mental health campaign aims to end the indignity of out-of-area care

Picture posed by model

Picture posed by model - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

A Norfolk MP is to officially call for a parliamentary debate on mental health, as he backed the EDP's campaign to tackle the problem.

Norman Lamb.

Norman Lamb. - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

North Norfolk Lib Dem Norman Lamb was today due to table an early day motion (EDM) calling on members of the House of Commons to discuss the issue of out-of-area placements.

These happen when a mental health patient needs an overnight bed in a facility, but there is no provision in their local area.

Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) has recently seen its bill for such placements soar, something which has been described as 'unacceptable' by campaigners.

Mr Lamb's motion requests that the 'House expresses concern that 2,119 mental health patients were receiving non-specialist care in hospitals outside their local area at the end of July 2015... and notes that one in five of these people had been sent more than 50km away from their usual provider to receive care.'

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The motion also praises our new campaign, launched last week to raise awareness and fight for better services for those who suffer.

On his motion, Mr Lamb, pictured left, said: 'This practice would not be tolerated in cancer care or for somebody who has suffered a stroke, so why does it continue in the case of mental illness?'

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On the campaign he added: 'The main insight from my time as health minister was the total imbalance of access to treatment between people with physical and mental health problems.

'We made great strides... it is now crucial that the government acts decisively to continue this momentum. I very much welcome the launch of Mental Health Watch, and will be doing everything I can to support the campaign.'

Debbie White, director of operations for Norfolk and Waveney at NSFT, said: 'I fully understand the distress out of area placements can cause service users and their families, particularly at a time when they are at their most vulnerable. It is something we do our absolute utmost to avoid.

'Our staff have worked very hard to put this situation right and, as a result, the past 12 days have seen no adult acute patients being placed in out of area beds. It remains a key priority.'

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