Kent and Medway NHS Trust continue to send mental health patients hundreds of miles from home for hospital beds

Between the 1st April 2017 and the 4th August 2020, the Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (KMPT) have sent two hundred and twenty eight (228) mental health patients for treatment “out of area”.   Some patients have been sent more than 180 miles away from their homes and support networks. While others have endured being away from home for more than three months, as there have been no beds for them in Kent, the Shepway Vox Team can reveal.

The number of patients being sent to “out of area placements” has declined year on year, the costs though have risen.

The overall costs for the last three financial years is £5,316,484.

The latest data published (May 2020), shows patients in Kent sent for OAPs by KMPT spent a total of 2,145 days away from their homes, with some having to travel more than 180 miles to receive treatment at an average cost of £960 per day.

An ‘out of area placement’ (OAP) occurs when a person with acute mental health needs requires inpatient care is admitted to a unit which does not form part of the usual local network of services (ie not in Kent). This means that the person cannot be visited regularly by their care co-ordinator to ensure continuity of care and effective discharge planning. Patients should be treated in a location that helps them to maintain contact with family, carers and friends, and to feel as familiar as possible with their local surrounding.

The government set a national ambition to eliminate inappropriate OAPs in mental health services for adults in acute inpatient care by 2020-2021. We believe this ambition will NOT be met.

Mental health problems are widespread, at times disabling, yet often hidden. Nationally one in four adults experiences at least one diagnosable mental health problem in a given year.

Many without previous experience of mental health problems have experienced poor mental health during lockdown and have seen their mental health and wellbeing decline.

If you need to seek help there are organisations out there who can help.

Live It Well Kent

  • If you need support or would like to refer someone, please contact Live Well Kent  0800 567 7699 or

Mind – South Kent

Telephone 0300 12 11 102  –  Email

Release the Pressure

Text the word Kent to 85258 or phone 0800 107 0160 for free confidential support at any time. You can also webchat with Mental Health Matters, an independent charity, who are available 24/7.

Safe Havens

  • Folkestone & Hythe District

  • Hestia offers a safe haven telephone service for residents of Folkestone and Hythe district who are experiencing a mental health crisis.

They are available from 6pm-11pm weekdays and 12pm-11pm and weekends

  • Call 0808 1963 569

  • Email

  • Facebook message @hestiafolkestonehaven

The Samaritans

  • 116 123 – free from any phone

  • 0330 094 5717 local call charges apply

KMPT Early Intervention for Psychosis (East Kent)01227 812390

  • Monday-Friday from 9am-5pm for referrals

    Monday-Friday from 8am-8pm for appointments

  • Collette Chamberlain – Service Manager

Or contact your GP.

The Shepway Vox Team

Don’t Suffer In Silence

About shepwayvox (1648 Articles)
Our sole motive is to inform the residents of Shepway - and beyond -as to that which is done in their name. email:

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