Care Programme Approach


The following text is quoted from the "Reviewing the Care Programme Approach 2006" document.

The Care Programme Approach (CPA) was introduced in 1990 to provide a framework for effective mental health care for people with severe mental health problems. Its four main elements were:

  1. systematic arrangements for assessing the health and social needs of people accepted into specialist mental health services;
  2. the formation of a care plan which identifies the health and social care required from a variety of providers;
  3. the appointment of a key worker (care co-ordinator) to keep in close touch with the service user, and to monitor and co-ordinate care; and
  4. regular review and, where necessary, agreed changes to the care plan.

The importance of close working between health and social services was stressed, as was the need to involve service users and their carers in the assessment and planning of service users' support and care.

The CPA model was reviewed in 1999 with the publication of the Mental Health National Service Framework and to incorporate lessons learned about its use since its introduction. Effective Care Co-ordination in Mental Health Services: Modernising the Care Programme Approach: A Policy Booklet sets out current policy on the role and purpose of the CPA.


In March 2008, Refocusing the care programme approach: Policy and positive practice guidance was published, which "updates policy and sets out positive practice guidance for trusts and commissioners to review local practice to refocus CPA within mental health services".

External links

Reviewing the Care Programme Approach 2006: A consultation document (closing date 19 February 2007)

Effective care co-ordination in mental health services: modernising the care programme approach - A policy booklet (1999)

Refocusing the care programme approach: Policy and positive practice guidance (20 March 2008)

Making the CPA work for you - leaflet and booklet (20 March 2008)

NHS website: Care for people with mental health problems (Care Programme Approach)


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