NHS spending on private companies that breastfeed people with mental health problems outside their local government has grown by nearly 30% a year to £ 100 million.
Adults in mental health crises were sent 300 miles away from home last year – a situation NHS bosses have acknowledged is reducing their chances of recovery because vulnerable people are separated from their loved ones.
Figures revealed by labor show that private healthcare companies are receiving increasing amounts of money to care for such patients as the NGO struggles to cope.
In 2018/19, 99,683,000 pounds were spent on off-site placements provided by private companies, which was more than 77,344,810 pounds in 2017/18, government statistics show.
The payments included more than £ 31 million from Cygnet Healthcare, which owned Whorlton Hall, a unit that was criticized after a BBC panorama revealed in May that residents had been abused by staff.
Another provider, the Priory Group, received more than £ 45 million. The company was fined £ 300,000 for "gross failures" that contributed to the death of a 14-year-old in one of his psychiatric establishments in 2014.
Other private providers hosting out-of-area mental health facilities include St. Andrew's Health, Elysium Healthcare and the Huntercombe Group, each receiving more than £ 4 million.
In 2018/19, more than 1,300 of these placements were more than 200 miles from the patient's home, effectively cutting people off from the vital support of friends and family.
The health service has a program for creating more beds, but widespread placement practices outside the border have prompted calls to speed it up.
There are doubts as to whether multiple ministerial commitments to end mental health care outside the area by 2020/21 will be honored, given the service's strong reliance on this practice.
Barbara Keeley, Minister for Mental Health, said: "It is exceptional that the NHIF pays huge sums of money to private companies for the delivery of inappropriate and often inadequate care. Companies like Cygnet still pocket tens of millions of pounds in taxpayer money, although they have been found to have ill-treated patients.
"Instead of continuing to tie the pockets of private companies and their shareholders, the government should invest in high quality social security that enables people with mental health care to receive the treatment they need near home."
The Guardian revealed last month that the NHS budget spent on private healthcare companies has reached unprecedented levels. The Ministry of Health and Welfare handed over a record 9.2 billion pounds last year to private providers such as Virgin Care and Priory Group, its annual report shows.
This was an increase of 14% from £ 8.1bn, which was aimed at profit-oriented profits in 2014/15, and £ 410m more than the total amount of £ 8.77bn in 2017/18.