Mental health trust’s pledge to eradicate out of area placements by 2021

Hellesdon Hospital, NSFT headquarters. 

Picture: James Bass

Hellesdon Hospital, NSFT headquarters. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2009

The region’s mental health trust has pledged to eradicate the use of out of area beds by 2021.

The ambitious claim follows broken promises over the last few years but the organisation said it is confident the goal will be achieved this time around as more detailed and comprehensive plans were in place.

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) has been hamstrung by a lack of beds for many years, meaning when a patient needs to be admitted to hospital they can be sent hundreds of miles away or to a private hospital.

In some cases patients were kept in police cells for longer than they would have been due to a lack of beds.

Or in the case of 42-year-old Neil Jewell, from Norwich, when a bed was not available in 2014 he was instead placed in a care home, where his condition deteriorated.

Neil Jewell in Sheringham. Photo: Christine WelfareNeil Jewell in Sheringham. Photo: Christine Welfare

He later died in hospital.

MORE: Why Norfolk police are having to keep mental health patients in cells for up to 68 hours

During 2013/14, 113 patients were sent to out of area (OOA) inpatient beds, outside of Norfolk and Suffolk, at a cost of £1.5m.

By the following year this had risen to 279 - a 272pc increase from the 79 patients sent away in 2010/11.

The most recent figures showed patients spent 8,585 bed days outside of the trust in 2017/18 at a cost of £5.4m.

MORE: More mental health beds could be opened in Norfolk - if commissioners grant the funding

But commissioners agreed to cover any costs above NSFT’s £996,000 budget - an arrangement in place for this year too.

And pressure is only set to increase as the trust has closed 36 beds - 28 temporarily - since autumn last year.

An NSFT spokesman said two new OOA placement managers had been recruited to help bring numbers down.

He said: “They monitor bed requests to keep patients within area, wherever possible, and where patients have to go OOA due to the lack of beds locally we look to bring them closer to home as soon as possible.”

MORE: First glimpse at plans for crisis hubs aimed at tackling mental health bed shortage

But commitments to stop OOA placements have been made before.

In January 2014, NSFT bosses said they would stop sending patients out of the area for treatment within four months.

This was not achieved and more recently the trust set itself the goal of to October 2017, before being adjusted to the “more realistic” date of March this year.

This was again missed but now national targets have demanded all mental health services stop sending patients OOA by 2021.

MORE: Revealed - The changes taking place at the region’s mental health trust in bid to improve

This time around the trust said a more detailed plan meant they were confident they could succeed.

The trust said a number of steps were being taken to ensure the 2020/21 target was reached.

The first involved introducing a bed management system on NSFT’s computer system, Lorenzo, and managers had also been recruited to oversee OOA placements.

A review was planned for the management structure of the central Norfolk acute team.

MORE: Mundesley Hospital’s shock closure following damning care quality report

Partial hospitalisation was also going to be introduced across all NSFT wards - this is where treatment is more concentrated than outpatient care but patients don’t stay overnight at hospital, and therefore do not need a bed.

Like much of the NHS many beds at NSFT are taken up when patients cannot leave due to social care not being arranged. These cases are known as delayed transfers of care and are being reviewed by NSFT, including bringing in executive trust members to tackle the issue.

Any delays in the discharge process are being looked at and already seven beds have been commissioned as step-down beds to help people get home.

Also set to be introduced are a dedicated personality disorder provision, community wellbeing hubs, and a new project on patient flow.

Other News

Yesterday, 21:52

A Norfolk MP has called for urgent action after claiming people with mental health issues are still being unlawfully detained and transported in police vehicles.

Yesterday, 18:10

Figures have revealed the streets in Norfolk and Waveney which have access to both the fastest and the slowest broadband speeds, after a report has shown that more than a quarter of UK homes do not have fast enough broadband to cope with a family’s typical internet needs.

Yesterday, 17:02

Traffic lights which have been disrupting journeys at a key roundabout have been taken down.

Yesterday, 16:23

A pub has released CCTV footage of what appears to be an older woman lobbing white paint all over its front door.

Most Read

Mon, 18:00

School trips usually involve taking children to see one of Shakespeare’s great plays or visiting a historic museum.

Read more

Plans for a former pub to be turned into a luxury tobacconist have been put under fire by a nearby health centre, with bosses arguing it would “give out entirely the wrong message”.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:34

A 46-year-old shop assistant was racially abused by a customer in Great Yarmouth.

Read more
Mon, 11:42

Would you like to play a major part in restoring one of Great Yarmouth’s most historic tourist attractions to its former glory?

Read more
Barry Coleman
Wed, 11:17

Tributes have poured in to a stalwart of the Great Yarmouth borough after he died following a short term illness.

Read more
Graham Plant

Local Weather

Sunshine and Showers

Sunshine and Showers

max temp: 5°C

min temp: 3°C

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the Great
Yarmouth Mercury

e-edition today


Newsletter Sign Up

Great Yarmouth Mercury weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy