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Care Programme Approach

The Care Programme Approach (‘CPA’ )was introduced in England in the joint Health and Social Services Circular HC(90)23/LASSL(90)11. It requires health authorities, in collaboration with social services departments, to put in place specific arrangements for the care and treatment of people with mental ill health in the community.

It is a national system which sets out how 'secondary mental health services' should help people with mental illnesses and complex needs. Secondary mental health services include Community Mental Health Teams/Recovery Teams, Assertive Outreach Teams and Early Intervention Teams. It is a means of co-ordinating mental health care needs for those meeting the eligibility criteria.

A CPA care co-ordinator (usually a nurse, social worker or occupational therapist) should be appointed to co-ordinate the assessment and planning process. The care co-ordinator should  make sure that the Care Plan is reviewed regularly.

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