Elderly Wolverhampton people put in care homes as far away as Belfast
Elderly people from Wolverhampton have been placed in care homes as far away as Belfast, it has been revealed.
Dozens of residents have ended up in residential homes outside of the city boundaries, data released under the Freedom of Information Act showed.
City council chiefs said there were "many reasons" why people are placed in homes outside of the city and said "in most cases this will because they have chosen to".
They also said many cases would include people staying in homes just outside the city limits, though the figures did not show the location of each individual case.
The furthest someone aged over 65 was placed was Belfast, 221 miles away. A person aged between 18 and 65 was placed 174 miles away in Folkestone, Kent.
During 2018/19 there were 89 permanent residential placements outside the city for people aged between 18 and 65 and another 55 for people aged over 65.
A Wolverhampton Council spokesman said: “There are many reasons why people may be placed or decide to live in a residential home outside the city boundaries, but in most cases this will be because they have chosen to.
"The council works hard to ensure that people who require residential care are able to live where they want to, and try to support them to find placements as near to their original home and community as possible.
“This is normally within the city, but in a small number of cases where this is not possible, people may consider a provider in a neighbouring authority area.
"Wolverhampton is a small city geographically and people will often look at homes just outside the city borders because, in some cases, a home outside the city border will be the closest to their original home address.
“Occasionally, service users will request placements in a different part of the country, for instance if they want to be closer to family so they can visit more often. It is only in a small minority of cases they may require a placement which provides a specific type of support which better meets their needs, and sometimes these are only available elsewhere in the country.”
Natasha Allmark, a campaigner for the Liberal Democrats, which released the data, said: "It is appalling that some of the most vulnerable people in the country are being sent over 200 miles from their homes for want of a mental health bed locally."
However, the city council said the individual who was moved Belfast wanted to be in Northern Ireland to be closer to family and that all parties were happy with the arrangement.