• The North London Forensic Consortium is made up of five mental health trusts and went live in April
  • Aims to reduce the number of patients sent out of area and set up a new bed management system across the partners
  • It is the largest of 17 new care models to be granted new commissioning powers, with a devolved budget of £113m

A consortium of mental health trusts has created a new central team to bring back out of area patients and manage beds for the footprint.

The North London Forensic Consortium went live last month and is the largest of 17 new care models to be granted new commissioning powers from NHS England.

It has been granted responsibility for a specialised commissioning budget of £113m and is focusing on reducing the number of high acuity patients who have committed crimes being sent out of area.

The consortium has invested £500,000 upfront to set up a team that will work on repatriating patients and managing the combined bed management system.

It is made up of:

  • Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust;
  • Central and North West London Foundation Trust,
  • North East London FT;
  • East London FT; and
  • West London Mental Health Trust

The consortium has around 700 forensic beds, with most of the beds provided by the Barnet, Enfield and Haringey; West London; and East London trusts.

It aims to bring back half of the 110 forensic patients currently out of area over the next two years and stop patients being sent out of area when a provider does not have a bed available.

The central team will spend the first six months reassessing patients currently out of area to see if they can be safely brought back to their local provider.

The team will also liaise with the five partners to find beds for patients when their local provider does not have the capacity to admit them.

Managing director Mark Landy told HSJ the consortium might need to develop some new services that are not available in every part of the footprint, or increase capacity in certain services, such as low secure.

Mr Landy said it is creating a body of evidence and will reinvest the savings made from reducing out of area placements into service development.

He added: “We are hoping, in six months, we will have reviewed everyone and everyone will have a clear pathway formulation.

“We are hoping that initially we would be able to bring back at least 50 to 60 patients over the next two years. But in parallel we need to consider whether to develop some of these services ourselves or continue to commission them from the independent sector.”

Across the 17 pilot regions, £640m of the specialised commissioning funding will be transferred directly to providers – nearly 40 per cent of the total budget.