Lancashire mental health patients 'travelled miles'

Lancashire Care NHS Trust headquarters
Image caption Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust officials said the report was "difficult reading"

Hundreds of mentally ill patients in Lancashire were treated many miles away from home due to a shortage of beds, a report has revealed.

The report into Lancashire Foundation Care NHS Trust also found patients left for days in A&Es waiting for a bed with others kept in holding rooms.

Dr Amanda Doyle, chief of the health body that commissioned the report, said they had been "letting people down".

The care trust said it was sorry its services had "fallen short".

Dr Doyle, chief officer for the Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System - the umbrella body with responsibility for healthcare in Lancashire - said: "We are not here to make excuses.

"We knew we were letting people down but what we have learned [are] some of the underlying issues that have contributed to that."

The report highlights how patients can be stranded in A&E or held in small holding rooms for days because no beds are available.

Image caption Dr Amanda Doyle said patients had been let down

One man told the BBC how he waited days on a chair in A&E with his son waiting to get a bed at The Harbour, a specialist mental health unit in Blackpool.

The report by the Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust found some patients were sent far from home - sometimes hundreds of miles away - to other hospitals, causing huge problems to both patients and family carers trying to offer support.

It revealed this had happened more than 17,000 times in the past 12 months - a third of the total cases in the north of England.

Caroline Donovan, chief executive of Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, welcomed the report "even though it makes for very difficult reading".

"We are so sorry that our services have, in many instances, fallen way short of what we aspire to," she said.

"I will be personally leading the improvement programme, and work has already begun."

The trust was criticised in 2017 for the mental health service it provided at Liverpool Prison, which it ended in April last year.

Earlier this year, an official from Blackpool Council raised concerns about the level of assaults in a hospital run by the trust.

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