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  1. ITV Report

Number of South West children treated away from home doubles in two years

Eddie Hanlon has been receiving treatment in Newcastle for five years. Photo: Family

Figures released by the British Medical Association show that the South West has one of the highest numbers of children with severe mental health problems being treated away from home.

A mother from Bristol says her family has been "ripped apart" by a decision to admit her son to hospital 300 miles away.

Adele Hanlon's son Eddie has complex mental health problems and has been in hospital in Newcastle for almost 5 years.

"It's quite bittersweet really because in one sense we know he's getting really good care in Newcastle but the distance is huge and children with problems like Eddie need family. They need support, they need familiarity and taking them so far from what's their normal doesn't help with their recovery in any way at all. It's ripped us apart essentially. Eddie has had two brothers, one of which has been born while he was in hospital and he has not been part of that as we would have liked him to have been. Alfie who is 5 thinks that Eddie lives in a castle in Newcastle which is sweet but the reality is that that's not how you should see your brother. It just breaks down relationships."

– Adele Hanlon

For five years Adele and her family have made the 600 mile trip every month to see Eddie. But this is not unusual, over the last two years in the South West, the number of young patients being sent away for care has more than doubled with 467 children and teenagers currently being treated away from home.

That's the biggest rise in any English region and the second highest number of children being treated away from home in England.

NHS England says it will fund over 150 new beds for under-served parts of the country over the next two years.

Adele Hanlon travels 600 miles to see her son Eddie every month. Credit: Family