Six mental health pilot sites to redesign services and prevent patients being admitted to hospital miles away from home go live on 1 October

NHS England has announced six pilot sites across the country to drive the design of new approaches to delivering children and young people’s mental health services and secure mental health services.

The sites will be tasked with reducing psychiatric hospital admissions and time spent in hospital, putting an end to the practice of adults and young people with mental health problems being sent for in-patient treatment miles away from home.

This practice, known as out of area placements, can make visiting difficult for family members and local clinicians, affecting a person’s recovery and leading to fragmented care and increased lengths of stay.

The pilot sites, made up of NHS mental health trusts, independent sector and charitable organisations will work together, sharing a local budget, to effectively reorganise services in their area.

Two of the six pilot sites will step up the level of crisis care available in the community for children and young people to prevent them from needing to be admitted to hospital, freeing up local hospital beds.

The other four sites will look at re-locating people in secure mental health services closer to home as well as addressing their surrounding social care needs so they can leave inpatient care and re-integrate into the community as quickly as possible.

NHS England’s National Director for Mental Health, Claire Murdoch, said: “This marks another step in implementing the Mental Health Five Year Forward View. Today’s action will help ensure that patients are treated as close to home as possible, and help reduce the need to send some of our most vulnerable people miles across the country to receive vital treatment.”

The sites received official backing at the NHS England board meeting today (29 September) and will begin work on 1 October 2016.

They are:

Adult Medium and Low Secure Services:

  • West Midlands: Birmingham and Solihull FT (with South Staffordshire & Shropshire Healthcare NHS FT and St Andrews).
  • South London Partnership: Oxleas NHS FT (with South London and Maudsley FT, SW London and St George’s NHS Trust, NHSE London Region Specialised Commissioning).
  • Thames Valley and Wessex: Oxford Health FT (with Berkshire FT, Dorset FT, Central and North West London FT, Solent NHS Trust, Southern Health FT, Isle of Wight NHS Trust, Response).
  • South West: Devon Partnership NHS Trust (with Avon and Wiltshire FT, Cornwall FT, Dorset FT, 2gether FT, Cygnet, Partnerships in Care, Livewell, Somerset Partnership FT).

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (Tier 4):

  • West London: West London NHS Trust (with Central & North West London NHS FT, Priory and Like Minded).
  • North East and North Yorkshire: Tees, Esk and Wear Valley FT