THE mother of a mental health patient from Oxford who has been sent 160 miles away to receive treatment says she fears she may ‘never see her daughter again’.

Ann Ingram, 80, has been left in despair after doctors sent her adult daughter to Barnsley in Yorkshire for specialist care.

Mrs Ingram’s 57-year-old daughter, who has been a patient at the Warneford Hospital in Headington for almost two years, now finds herself more than a three-hour drive from her support network of family and friends.

And her mother believes the disruptive move could worsen the condition.

The great-grandmother-of-five, who lives in Cowley, said: “We had no say in it at all.

“We had a meeting with the doctors on Wednesday and the next day she was gone.

“They said in Oxford they can’t give her one to one care which is what she needs.

“They said they didn’t have the facilities or the staff but why can’t they find anywhere closer?

“She didn’t want to go. I saw her in the ward and she was very upset.

"She wanted us to bring her home, I wanted to bring her home, but the doctors said that shouldn’t happen and if we did then all her care would be withdrawn, so we didn’t have a choice.”

Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust which runs the hospital told the family the treatment would last for 10 weeks, however her daughter would only be allowed to return home if doctors saw an improvement in her condition.

The distraught former hospital cleaner said she used to pay regular visits to see her daughter at the Warneford Hospital in Headington, but now does not know when she’ll see her again.

She said: “I can’t sleep, it’s just worrying me sick.

“I do drive but only around Oxford so I can’t make it all the way up to Barnsley on my own.

“At my age I don’t know whether I will ever see her again.”

The practice known as an ‘out of area placement’ has been widely criticised by mental health experts who say the huge distances often involved rule out regular visits from friends and relatives, at a time when their support matters most.

In October 2017 similar fears over welfare were raised by the mother of 17-year-old Del Harrison who Oxford Health sent to Bury near Manchester, despite the family living in Chilton near Didcot.

And despite the Government pledging to end out of area placements by 2021, the latest national figures show that in September almost 600 patients were forced to travel out of their own area for treatment because of a lack of local resources.

In the year up to September 2018, 155 Oxfordshire patients were sent up to 300km away by Oxford Health to receive treatment.

This week CEO of local mental health charity Oxfordshire Mind, Dan Knowles, called for an end to the practice but said mental health services must be provided with the right support to do so.

He said: “Here at Oxfordshire Mind we believe that no patient should be treated miles away from family and friends, out of area care would not happen with physical health and we should not accept this treatment for any type of mental health treatment.

“NHS England has pledged to end out of area care by 2021, nevertheless it is concerning that out of area placements are still happening here in Oxfordshire.

“The abolition of these out of area placements can only happen with the correct funding and resources.”

Oxford Health spokeswoman Victoria Taylor said: “We are unable to comment on individual cases.

“However, some patients need specialist care which unfortunately is not available locally.

“Patients, families and staff may find out of area placements concerning, and we continually work with NHS and social care partner organisations to offer people services closer to home as soon as appropriate.”

In 2016 research by the British Medical Association (BMA) found that patients of Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust had had to travel some of the greatest distances of anyone in the country.

As many as 478 residents with mental health problems had been sent out of the county between 2013 and 2016, with the furthest travelling 532 miles to New Craigs Hospital in Inverness.