Bringing care back home

5 March 2020

Evaluating the New Care Models for children and young people’s mental health

Nick O’Shea

Sending children out-of-area for mental health support can be highly distressing for them and their families, as well as being costly and extending the amount of time it takes for them to recover.

Bringing care back home is an economic evaluation (in partnership with the NHS Confederation’s Mental Health Network) of six pilot programmes supported by NHS England to invest in local mental health services for children and young people, to prevent them needing admission to hospital far from home.

The evaluation of NHS England’s ‘New Care Models’ programme (now called the Provider Collaborative programme) found that all six areas managed to reduce the number of children being treated in hospitals outside their local area by meeting their needs more effectively close to home. By investing in local services, they reduced the costs of care without compromising on quality.

This report provides an economic evaluation of the quantitative changes which have been observed in these six pilot sites, including changes in out-of-area bed use, length of stay and distance from home. It focuses on the financial impact of investing in new, community-based services which offer treatment locally in place of out-of-area beds. However, both the evaluation and the pilots themselves were clear the programme was about providing better care for young people; about clinical success rather than potential financial gains.

Bringing care back home highlights the clear gains being made in the New Care Models programme by bringing vulnerable young people closer to home and giving high quality clinical care while also reducing costs.

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