NHS EnglandSix pilot sites across the country will go live on October 1 to drive the design of new approaches to delivering children and young people’s mental health services and secure mental health services, NHS England has announced.  

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 6 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 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.

The sites are:

 Adult medium and low secure services:

West Midlands: Birmingham and Solihull Foundation Trust, with South Staffordshire & Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and St Andrews

South London Partnership: Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust, with South London and Maudsley Foundation Trust, South West London and St George's NHS Trust, NHSE London Region Specialised Commissioning

Thames Valley and Wessex: Oxford Health Foundation Trust, with Berkshire Foundation Trust, Dorset Foundation Trust, Central and North West London Foundation Trust, Solent NHS Trust, Southern Health Foundation Trust, Isle of Wight NHS Trust and Response

Southwest: Devon Partnership NHS Trust, with Avon and Wiltshire Foundation Trust, Cornwall Foundation Trust, Dorset Foundation Trust, 2gether Foundation Trust, Cygnet, Partnerships in Care, Livewell and Somerset Partnership Foundation Trust. 

Child and adolescent mental health services (Tier 4):

West London: West London NHS Trust, with Central & North West London NHS Foundation Trust, Priory and Like Minded

Northeast and North Yorkshire: Tees, Esk and Wear Valley Foundation Trust.

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.”