Children with severe mental health problems are twice as likely to receive treatment at a hospital a long distance from home as the local alternative – and the situation is getting worse – new research has found. 

69 per cent of child and adolescent admissions were classed OOA (out of area) in 2016-17, up from 57 per cent the previous year.

The figures were obtained from NHS England under the Freedom of Information Act by the British Medical Association (BMA). 

Incredible wrench

“These figures show, alarmingly, that well over half of patients are being placed out of area at a time when they are at their most vulnerable,” said BMA spokesperson Gary Wannan. 

“It can be an incredible wrench for children to leave their homes and being based far away is not going to help a young person in crisis.”

Evidence of these latest rises come as the number of patients admitted for child and adolescent mental healthcare fell by 15 per cent, from 4,485 in 2015-16 to 3,817 last year, BMA News analysis of the figures suggests.

Earlier this week the government pledged to recruit 10,000 “new staff” to work in mental health treatment in England, if re-elected.