Sue has today written to Theresa May, the Prime Minister, asking her to instigate an investigation into the provision of mental health services in Cumbria, following shocking reports that 59 people in the last year were transferred out of the county to receive mental healthcare.
In her letter, Sue said:
“In my two years as an MP, an increasing number of constituents have been attending my advice surgeries to tell me of the problems they and their family have experienced in accessing mental health services in Cumbria.
“Figures collated by the British Medical Association have revealed that mental health patients from Cumbria have been sent as far afield as London, Cardiff, and Aberdeen because of a lack of available specialist care. Over the last year, 59 Cumbrian residents were sent to 19 different locations out of the county for mental health care – 17 of which were private hospitals – at a cost of £3.7 million to the county council’s health budget.
“I want to see a thorough investigation of this situation to get to the bottom of why this keeps happening to my constituents. Being sent a long way from home for mental health treatment has a huge pressure on people and their families. We are promised that local people will receive more of their treatment closer to home, but this does not seem to be happening when it comes to mental healthcare. It’s absolutely critical that we have the right provision of mental healthcare where it is needed, and this needs to be delivered as soon as possible.
“In your speech in Parliament following the Queen’s Speech last month, you said:
‘[The Government] is putting in place a new mental health Act, but we will of course consult widely on that. […] The earlier we can address these issues, the better we can deal with them and the better life we can ensure for the people with these mental health problems.’
“I would urge you to ensure that you and your Government follow through on that promise, so that my constituents with mental health issues receive the high quality care that they need, delivered when they need it, provided locally.”