1. ITV Report

Over 1000 mental health patients in Scotland sent to other health boards

This comes from research by the Scottish Conservatives Photo: PA

More than 1000 mental health patients in Scotland have been sent to other health boards for treatment in the past three years.

This comes from research by the Scottish Conservatives.

It shows that some patients are being sent between NHS boards north of the border, with some even being asked to travel to England.

The statistics showed 334 people were moved in 2014/15, followed by 370 a year later, and 303 last year.

In total, 1007 mental health patients were asked to travel “out of area” between 2014/15 and 2016/17, the equivalent of 17 a week.

NHS Borders were found to have 94 instances of sending patients to other health boards:

NHS Borders aims to provide patient care within local services. In some circumstances, patients may require highly specialist interventions and care that cannot provided in the Borders.

In these instances patients are referred to services within our regional network to receive the care that they require. In exceptional circumstances patients with complex needs may receive mental health care from services out with the network if this is the best option to accommodate their needs.”

– Cliff Sharp, Medical Director, NHS Borders

The Freedom of Information request showed the conditions suffered by those being transferred elsewhere included eating disorders, bipolar, severe depression and learning disabilities.

The Scottish Conservatives said while it was understandable some patients had to travel to receive specialist care, the numbers were too high:

There will always be cases when it’s in the patient’s best interests to be sent elsewhere for treatment. But the scale of these figures suggests some health boards in Scotland just aren’t equipped to deal with a range of conditions.

All sides of the political debate in Scotland agree that mental health should have a parity of esteem with physical health. But if that’s to be the case, people need to be able to rely on their own health board for treatment.

In cases of exceptionally rare and challenging conditions it can make sense for everyone for a patient to go elsewhere for care. However, many of the conditions set out here are not rare, and people would expect at least one of their local hospitals to be able to cope with it.”

– Annie Wells, Mental Health Spokesman, Scottish Conservative