Over £10m has been spent sending people from Northern Ireland abroad to be treated for personality disorders because specialist care is not available here.
The Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) outlined the figures explaining that £2,564,464 was spent in 2012/13; £2,578,160 in 2013/14; £2,673,911 in 2014/15; and £2,376,258 in 2015/16.
That’s £10,192,793 in total.
“The HSCB has a process in place for Northern Ireland patients accessing health care outside Northern Ireland, which is called the Extra Contractual Referral (ECR) process,” it stated.
“This occurs when the HSCB approves a consultant’s request to transfer a named patient to a provider outside Northern Ireland for assessment or treatment which the consultant considers necessary but which is not available through HSC facilities.
“This may be either because the treatment needed is of a specialist nature which is not available in Northern Ireland or because there is a
clinical reason why the local service is not appropriate.
“Due to the very complex needs of individual patients with a diagnosis associated with Personality Disorder, treatment tends to be better facilitated outside Northern Ireland through the ECR process,” the HSCB explained.