‘There’s no ball for the Cinderella of the NHS’ – Herts mental health patients sent 180 miles for beds

PUBLISHED: 08:31 29 September 2015 | UPDATED: 09:51 29 September 2015

Mental health patients in Herts have had to travel up to 180 miles for a bed.

Mental health patients in Herts have had to travel up to 180 miles for a bed.


Mental health patients in Herts had to travel up to 180 miles for a bed because a lack of money has led to a shortage in the county.

The Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust – which manages mental health services – has revealed the number of patients sent out of the county for treatment increased from 29 in 2013-14 to 95 in 2014-15, with most of these placements due to a lack of beds in Herts.

Costs for out-of-area placements for the same period rocketed from £601,000 to £1.68 million, with patients sent as far afield as Leeds and Manchester.

Patrick Newman, spokesman for the East and North Herts Independent Health Monitoring Group, said: “The increase in out-of-area placement is simply astonishing.

“Patients are taken away from any support network they may have in place, and it’s just adding to the difficulty of returning to good mental health. Some of these patients are children, of course. I don’t know how they manage to survive.

“There have been cuts to the mental health tariff and the service is not far off being in crisis. Excessive use of the private sector and a shortage of beds shows this.

“There’s no ball for this Cinderella of the NHS.”

A spokesman for the NHS trust said: “The demand on acute admission beds has continued to be high over the past financial year, in line with the national picture, and funding has not always matched this surge, with mental health and learning disability services often taking a back seat to the financial demands of physical healthcare. This has sometimes meant we have been unable to meet this demand within our own bed capacity.”

When asked if sending a patient out of the area for treatment is detrimental, the spokesman said: “Decisions to place service users in non-HPFT beds are not taken lightly and all alternatives are always considered first. However, this needs to be balanced against ensuring the person is able to access the appropriate care and treatment they require as quickly as possible.

“All HPFT service users placed in out-of-area beds are regularly monitored by our clinical team and their ongoing care and discharge plans are supported by us.”

The NHS trust said it is taking steps to mitigate its current bed pressures by improving the management system and ensuring alternative services to admission – such as crisis teams, acute day treatment units and host families – are fully utilised.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Royston Crow visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Royston Crow staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Royston Crow account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More news stories


Melbourn Village College has taken part in the annual Make Your Mark ballot, the largest consultation of young people in the country.

Major problems with our hospital trust’s phone lines means patients are struggling to get through, with one patient put on hold for more than two hours.

Yesterday, 16:00

“Don’t ignore hate – report it.” That is the message that pupils from across Hertfordshire heard at an event marking National Hate Crime Awareness Week.

Yesterday, 14:00

Actress Morwenna Banks (among other television roles, the voice of Mummy Pig in Peppa Pig) and BBC Radio Cambridgeshire presenter Jeremy Sallis both added glamour to this year’s fashion show for Addenbrooke’s Hospital’s Breast Cancer Appeal. Morwenna described how cancer had affected members of her family. Jeremy took part in a Men in Black routine. The show, on Thursday, October 18, had models wearing everything from just bra and pants, to evening wear and bridal.

Most read stories

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Read the Royston Crow e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Royston Crow weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy