Mental Health Minister Norman Lamb has called reports of Solihull patients having to travel up to 200 miles for treatment “totally unacceptable”.
Local MP Lorely Burt had questioned the minister in the House of Commons following news of Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Trust sending patients as far as Brighton and Carlisle due to a lack of local beds.
Mrs Burt commended the Trust on its policy to try and treat mentally ill patients at home whenever possible, but said patients who wanted a bed have to travel up to 200 miles as “the Trust operates at 100 per cent capacity most of the time”. “Does my right honourable friend agree that it is unacceptable and that more beds should be made available locally?” she added.
Norman Lamb agreed it is “totally unacceptable for patients to be sent a long way away from home” and said the Government is “holding NHS organisations to account” to ensure they provide beds locally.
Now the Liberal Democrat MP is urging local people to sign a petition, at http://is.gd/Hp0YwT, to demand more beds for mental health patients in Solihull.
“Imagine if someone you love was taken into care and you had to make a four-hour train journey to visit them in their time of need,” said Mrs Burt.
“Going into care is hard enough in any case. Tearing families apart at such a difficult time is plain wrong.
“Mental health workers put their heart and soul into their patients and I thank them for their amazing work.
“But mental health patients and their families in Solihull are in danger of being let down because of a lack of beds.”