Fewer mental health patients sent to hospital away from Wakefield district, but NHS 'challenges' remain
The number of mental health hospital patients from Wakefield being treated miles away from their families has fallen significantly over the last three years.
However, the NHS says "challenges" remain in providing enough beds locally.
Figures from the South West Yorkshire Partnership Foundation Trust, which oversees mental health services across the district, showed 12 people were admitted to hospital away from Wakefield between April 2020 and March 2021, because of a lack of provision.
That's down from 85 between April 2017 and March 2018.
The NHS is striving to treat mental health patients close to their homes, making it easier for families to stay in touch and play a part in their relatives' recovery.
But a combination of factors, including Covid, staff absences and the gender specific requirements of some patients have posed obstacles.
A trust report going before Wakefield's health scrutiny committee next week said that there were high levels of need for the service, adding that there were with "further challenges" in managing isolated patients.
The report added: "The "difficulties have been compounded by staff absences and difficulties sourcing (agency) staff, leading to staffing shortages across the wards."
Elsewhere, the report said: "Our Psychiatric Intensive Care Units (PICU) wards are mixed gender, this can lead to the need for out of area placements for gender specific purposes.
"PICU wards offer support for the most acutely unwell people. Our wards are mixed gender but some people do need to access hospital wards with only people of the same gender."
The trust said its ambition is to ensure no-one from Wakefield is placed outside of the district for treatment.
However, the report said that in recent months, the pressure on the trust's services had increased.
Between April 1 and June 28 this year, six people from Wakefield were admitted into an out of area bed.
Local Democracy Reporting Service
The trust's venues across the Wakefield district can be contacted on each of the following numbers
Drury Lane Health and Wellbeing Centre, Wakefield - 01924 316921
Fieldhead Hospital, Wakefield - 01924 316900
Baghill House Health and Wellbeing Centre, Pontefract - 01977 735819
The Samaritans can be called on 116 123