Five seriously mentally ill people were sent miles from Northumberland for treatment because no beds were available, figures have revealed.

According to mental health charity Mind, vulnerable people in England are having their recovery jeopardised by sometimes having to travel hundreds of miles to be treated.

In the year to March, acutely ill adults spent a combined 830 days in non-local facilities due to bed pressures, according to statistics showing that the NHS Northumberland CCG arranged as many as five inappropriate out of area placements in that time.

Placements are considered inappropriate when they are due to a lack of beds locally rather than a specific need to send a patient elsewhere.

The Government pledged to eradicate these placements by the end of March but five actuely ill adults from the area were still being cared for by non-local support services at the end of that month.

The NHS said the coronavirus pandemic disputed progress towards meeting the Government target to abolish inappropriate placements by March 2021.

Demand increased on mental health services, say the NHS, with more people requiring help and a higher proportion becoming acutely ill before being able to access upport.

In England, there were 670 people being cared for outside of their home area at the end of March, with 6,375 inappropriate out of area placements arranged in the year to then. 96 percent of the out of area placements active nationally in March were inappropriate.

Sophie Corlett, director of external relations at Mind, said the impact of Covid on mental health meant it was increasingly important to have ‘the right beds in the right places.’

Sophie said: “The number of these placements is still far too high. The effects of people waiting for treatment or being sent far from their loved ones can be devastating particularly for children and young people.

“We need to see robust planning and greater investment in mental health services, so that people can get the help they need, when they need it, close to their home and existing support networks.

“To do this, the UK Government must prioritise urgent investment in community mental health services to stop people going into crisis.”