To examine what current routine statistics could show about the extent to which patients are admitted to hospital beds ‘out of area’, a quality indicator proposed in the National Service Framework.
Available data record that, on average, at least 6.9% of acute general psychiatry admissions in the English NHS happen outside the normal catchment area arrangement of a patient's health authority. However, deficiencies in the calculation – arising from lack of data, mainly about private sector admissions – and the absence of a central registry of NHS trust catchment areas suggest this is a substantial underestimate.
The most useful way for this issue to be examined is from year to year for individual trusts.
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