Out of area placements – adult services

Why this matters

An out of area placement for acute mental health inpatient care occurs when someone with assessed acute mental health needs who requires inpatient care, is admitted to a unit which does not form part of the usual local network of services. This means they can’t be visited regularly by their care co-ordinator to ensure continuity of care and effective discharge planning.

We want people in Greater Manchester to be treated in a location which helps them to maintain contact with family, carers and friends, and to feel as familiar as possible with their local surroundings. Out of area placements are an indicator of a whole mental health system under pressure, not simply the result of too few acute mental health beds. Our work in this area is linked to our plans to improve the whole pathway including crisis prevention, alternatives to admission, support on discharge and the development of a range of services that are aimed at keeping service users well and in the community.

Our aims

There’s a national ambition to eliminate all inappropriate adult acute out of area placements by 2021. Admissions to places away from home can delay recovery. In Greater Manchester we’re aiming to reduce acute out of area placements by 66% by 2020 and to standardise the care coordination of people across Greater Manchester, supporting people who may require a stay outside of their borough.

What we’ve achieved so far 

Across Greater Manchester in 2017 we had the highest number of out of area placements nationally (source NHS Digital out of area placements report Dec 2017)

  • Since the establishment of a Greater Manchester wide multi agency steering group in late 2017, led by the Executive Director of Operations at Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust this position has greatly improved
  • Work so far has seen this position improve to now being one of the best performing footprints nationally with the aim to reduce acute out of area placements by 66% by 2020 achieved, improving the experience for people across Greater Manchester who use our services, and their families.
  • The steering group devised and agreed a 10-point plan that aims to eliminate all out of area placements by 2021