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Shared bed management system moves closer

Out-of-area bed placements for mental health patients in the West Midlands could be vastly reduced, thanks to a forthcoming project from the MERIT Vanguard programme.

Posted by: on: Wednesday 12th July 2017 at 12:30

When a bed is not available in a service user’s own trust area, that patient can end up receiving their urgent treatment wherever a vacant bed can be found for them. Sometimes this can be hundreds of miles away.

Shakeel Sabir, head of the MERIT programme, said:

“Every year, West Midlands inpatients occupy out-of-area beds for thousands of days, causing stress to them, their family and friends, and putting pressure on local NHS budgets. Most service users tell us they would prefer to be admitted to a bed near where they live, so that any support from family and friends is easier to arrange.

“By sharing information on our bed occupancy with the other Trusts in the MERIT partnership, and by being able to see details of their beds in return, we hope to reduce the number of out-of-area placements by up to half. This will mean we can make better use of scarce NHS funding, whilst also providing a service more in line with patients’ expressed preferences.”

MERIT is a partnership between ourselves and the other mental health trusts which serve the cities and boroughs which make up the metropolitan West Midlands. The shared bed management system will be rolled out gradually across the MERIT partner Trusts, starting in Coventry and Warwickshire, from this autumn onwards. Look out for more information nearer the time.

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