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First monthly report published on out of area placements for mental health patients

02 December 2016: NHS Digital1 has today published initial provisional figures from a new interim data collection which captures details on mental health patients being admitted to a unit that does not form part of their usual local network of services.

Readers are advised to treat with caution the limited findings of this first edition of Out of Area Placements in Mental Health Services.2

The collection went live on October 17, 2016, and providers were asked to submit data for any new placements as of that date, so the numbers in this report are based on only two weeks' worth of data, with small numbers suppressed.3

The figures in this report may not reflect the full picture of the number of patients being treated for acute mental health inpatient care in a unit that does not form part of their usual local network of services.4

As this report is based on a new data collection covering a short time period, future figures are expected to become more robust, in order to accurately reflect the active number of placements at a specific point in time.

This report supports the Government initiative to eliminate inappropriate out of area placements by 2020-21. While there are many reasons for an out of area placement, one is deemed inappropriate if the reason for it is the non-availability of a local bed.

Read the full report at:


Notes to editors

1. NHS Digital is the national information and technology provider for the health and care system. Our team of information analysis, technology and project management experts create, deliver and manage the crucial digital systems, services, products and standards upon which health and care professionals depend. During the 2015/16 financial year, NHS Digital published 294 statistical reports. Our vision is to harness the power of information and technology to make health and care better. NHS Digital is the new trading name for the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC). We provide 'Information and Technology for better health and care'. Find out more about our role and remit at

2. NHS Digital has been directed by the Department of Health under section 254 of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 to establish and operate a system for the collection and analysis of the information specified for this service. A copy of the directions have been published here:

3. To protect patient confidentiality, figures under five in health geographies smaller than England have been replaced with "*" (an asterisk).

4. The collection has only captured new placements made since October 17, 2016, so the figures in this report do not account for those placements already active at the time that the collection began.

5. For media enquires please contact or telephone 0300 30 33 888.

Last edited: 11 April 2018 5:35 pm