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Out of Area Placements (OAPs)

The OAPs data collection opened on Monday 17 October 2016 to capture details of Out of Area Placements in mental health services.

The collection is expected to capture the details of all Out of Area Placements in England from both NHS and independent providers. The Department of Health and Social Care has directed NHS Digital ( now known as NHS England) to carry out this work. NHS England work with the Department of Health to manage the data submissions and publish the information submitted.


The term Out of Area Placement (OAP) replaces the term Out of Area Treatment (OAT). Out of Area Treatment is a retired term in NHS Data Model and Dictionary, as it is associated with non-contract activity. Out of Area Placements are also referred to as Out of Area Admissions in NICE guidance.

The government has set a national ambition to eliminate inappropriate OAPs in mental health services for adults in acute inpatient care by 2020-21. It is essential to introduce a collection of OAPs in order to understand whether progress is being made on the ambition and to understand where and why OAPs are happening. It is essential that this data is collected if we are to improve patient care and ultimately eliminate the practice of inappropriately sending patients out of area to receive acute inpatient care.

The Department of Health asked NHS England  to carry out this work under a Direction from the DHSC under s.254 of the 2012 Act. Read the Directions: Collection of Out of Area Placements (OAPS) for adults in acute mental health inpatient services Direction 2016.

Who should submit data to the OAPs collection

Mental health foundation trusts, Mental health non foundation trusts and independent sector providers who send adults out of area for acute inpatient care should submit data to the collection. Private patients seen in an NHS healthcare setting should be included.

Unfortunately, due to poor quality data being submitted to the Mental Health Services Dataset by a small number of providers that send and receive OAPS, it will not be possible to close this collection in the near future.  NHS England are working with these providers to resolve the issues and ask that you continue to submit to this collection until further notice.

How will NHS and independent providers submit data to the collection

Data will be submitted by providers using the NHS England secure online Clinical Audit Platform (CAP).

The Clinical Audit Platform is an application hosted and supported by NHS England. It is a secure, web based platform that will be used for the collection of OAPs data. Users who are registered to the OAPs collection will be able to  enter and submit OAPs data.

It is up to each provider to decide who in their organisation will collect and submit the patient information onto the Clinical Audit Platform. There can be more than one user per organisation.

The person(s) identified to submit data will need to register to use CAP by creating a 'Single Sign On Account' and completing the 'user registration form' listed within the Provider Documents below.

Details of monthly submission dates are in the OAPs data submission timetable .


NHS England will publish monthly reports based on monthly extractions from the data collection system. These will be published as an official statistic on the NHS England website.

These reports are used to help the NHS to improve patient care, experience and outcomes. NHS England does not publish anything that could identify a patient. Publications will use aggregated or grouped data. Small numbers will be replaced with an asterisk *. Data shared within the NHS will be anonymised.

OAPs reports

Provider documents

Local processes should be developed to submit any data. Documents that provide information and support are available within the following provider documents. 

OAPs User Registration Form v0.6 - complete and submit to request access for a member of staff to upload your monthly OAPs data.

OAPs Data Items Specification Excel spreadsheet listing all data items, their types, help text, and picklist variables

OAPs General FAQs to help answer any general questions about the collection

OAPs Scope and definitions FAQs to help you decide whether your organisation is in scope to submit data for this collection; and if so, what type of placements should be submitted

OAPs Data Entry FAQs to help you with any data entry or submission queries.

OAPs operational guidance v1.5 screenshots and steps to help you submit your data using the CAP online system

OAPs Data Recording Form - v3.4  an optional paper form to help you record details of a month's placements before you enter and submit them at the start of the new month

Patient bulk upload template

Placement bulk upload template

OAPs Operational Guidance - Submitting Data via file upload screenshots and steps to help you submit your data using the CAP online system

OAPs data submission timetable

Month  Cut off date for submission Data extracted Report period ending Report published on NHS England website 
November 2022 20 December 2022 21 December 2022 30 November 2022 9 February 2023
December 2022 20 January 2023 23 January 2023 31 December 2022 9 March 2023
January 2023 20 February 2023 21 February 2023 31 January 2023 13 April 2023
February 2023 20 March 2023 21 March 2023 28 February 2023 11 May 2023
March 2023 20 April 2023 21 April 2023 31 March 2023 8 June 2023
April 2023 21 May 2023 22 May 2023 30 April 2023 13 July 2023
May 2023 20 June 2023 21 June 2023 31 May 2023 10 August 2023
June 2023 20 July 2023 21 July 2023 30 June 2023 14 September 2023
July 2023 20 August 2023 21 August 2023 31 July 2023 12 October 2023
August 2023 20 September 2023 21 September 2023 31 August 2023 9 November 2023
September 2023 22 October 2023 23 October 2023 30 September 2023 14 December 2023
October 2023 20 November 2023 21 November 2023 31 October 2023 11 January 2024
November 2023 20 December 2023 21 December 2023 30 November 2023 8 February 2024
December 2023 21 January 2024 22 January 2024 31 December 2023 14 March 2024
January 2024 20 February 2024 21 February 2024 31 January 2024 11 April 2024
February 2024 20 March 2024 21 March 2024 29 February 2024 9 May 2024
March 2024 21 April 2024 22 April 2024 31 March 2024 13 June 2024

Patient documents

Patient Information Leaflet - explains to a patient how data about their placement is used to help improve patient care, how it is protected, and how to object to their data being included.

Contact us

For further information or if you have any queries please contact our national service desk by emailing [email protected]  or telephone 0300 303 5035. 

Further information

Last edited: 11 October 2023 8:57 am