Experts warn moving vulnerable people so far from home affects their care and recovery as several Scottish health boards ship patients down south.
Mental health patients are being sent hundreds of miles from their families as the NHS struggle to find beds for them.
Experts warn moving vulnerable people so far from home affects their care and recovery.
NHS Dumfries and Galloway sent patients as far away as Leicester – 245 miles from the health authority’s HQ – for treatment at the Arnold Lodge psychiatric hospital.
Another placement was to Billingham Grange hospital near Middlesbrough.
The health board have spent £2.4million on placing patients in out-of-area beds in the past two years.
NHS Lothian spent £1.4million over the same period, sending patients more than 200 miles to The Retreat mental health clinic in York, while others were treated by Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust.
BMA Scotland deputy chairwoman Dr Nikki Thompson said: “One in three GP appointments relate to mental health and wellbeing issues.
“The demands on mental health services are significant and growing but resourcing and staffing levels are insufficient to meet patients’ needs.
“It is common for emergency patients to wait hours for a bed and often they have to be sent many miles from home and family at the very time when they are at their most vulnerable.
“The distances often involved can rule out regular visits from friends and relatives at a time in their lives when their support matters most.
“Although some progress has been made, much more needs to be done if historic under-resourcing and under-staffing of mental health services are to be reversed.”