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Out of Area Placements (OAPs)

NHS Digital has developed this data collection to capture details of Out of Area Placements in mental health services. The collection is expected to capture the details of all Out of Area Placements in England from both NHS and independent providers. The Department of Health has directed NHS Digital to carry out this work. NHS Digital work with the Department of Health to manage the data submissions and publish the information submitted.

What is OAPs?

A full definition will be published on the website shortly.

The term "Out of Area Placement" (OAP) replaces the term Out of Area Treatment (OAT). Out of Area Treatment is a retired term in NHS Data Model & Dictionary, as it is associated with non-contract activity. Out of Area Placements are also referred to as Out of Area Admissions in NICE guidance

Why was the OAPs collection developed?

The Government has set a national ambition to eliminate inappropriate OAPs in mental health services for adults in acute inpatient care by 2020-21. It is essential to introduce a collection of OAPs in order to understand whether progress is being made on the ambition and to understand where and why OAPs are happening. It is essential that this data is collected if we are to improve patient care and ultimately eliminate the practice of inappropriately sending patients out of area to receive acute inpatient care.

Who should submit data to the OAPs collection?

Mental Health Foundation Trusts, Mental Health Non Foundation Trusts and Independent Sector providers who send adults out of area for acute inpatient care should submit data to the collection. Private patients seen in an NHS healthcare setting should be included.

We will advise the dates for data submission prior to the OAPs collection going live.

How will NHS and independent providers submit data to the collection?

Data will be submitted by providers using the NHS Digital secure online Clinical Audit Platform (CAP).

The Clinical Audit Platform (CAP) is an application hosted and supported by NHS Digital. It is a secure, web based platform that will be used for the collection of OAPs data. Users who are registered to the OAPs collection will be able to access CAP over an internet browser. It is on this platform that they will be able to enter and submit OAPs data.

It is up to each provider to decide who in their organisation will collect and submit the patient information onto the Clinical Audit Platform (CAP). There can be more than one user per organisation.

The person(s) identified to submit data will need to register to use CAP by creating a Single Sign On Account and completing the 'user registration form', available on the right hand side of this page. Providers are encouraged to start registering and setting up their user accounts now.


NHS Digital will publish monthly reports based on monthly extractions from the data collection system. These will be published as an official statistic on the NHS Digital website.

Help and Support

Local processes should be developed to submit any data. Documents will be available in due course on the right hand side of this page to provide information and support:

· Patient Information Leaflet (will be available shortly)

· Frequently Asked Questions (will be available shortly)

Getting in touch

For further information or if you have any queries please contact NHS Digital's Contact Centre on 0300 303 5678, or alternatively email and include 'Out of Area Placement' in the subject line so your enquiry can be easily forwarded on to the OAPs project team.

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