MENTAL health patients from Leicestershire are being sent long distances for treatment in a practice that is costing millions.
Patients from Leicester placed in private out of area rehabilitation beds were sent on an average two hours and 38 minute round trip from home, an investigation by the BMA has revealed.
Those from West Leicestershire CCG area faced a round-trip averaging two hours and 34 minutes, while it was two hours and 23 minutes for those from East Leicestershire and Rutland CCG.
Doctors' groups said the practice of sending people out of their home area for treatment was failing vulnerable patients in need of rehabilitation.
The investigation looked at NHS patients with serious mental health issues being sent to private mental health wards, often hundreds of miles from home, due to a lack of available beds locally.
The longest journey made by a patient from Leicester was 168.1 miles - a six-hour and 14 minute round trip.
A patient from West Leicestershire was sent 157.2 miles away, a five-hour and 40 minute round-trip, while someone from East Leicestershire and Rutland was sent 164.1 miles, a five-hour and 48 minute round-trip.
CCGs in Leicestershire spent PS10.02m on commissioning rehabilitation beds for those needing mental health treatment in 2018/19, up from PS9.36m in 2016/17.
Of this, PS1.8m was spent on private providers, down from PS2.08m.
That was compared to PS8.22m on NHS services, up from PS7.28m.