Care programme approach in a forensic learning disability service

The British Journal of Forensic Practice

ISSN: 1463-6646

Publication date: 1 December 2004


De‐institutionalisation and the closure of long‐stay hospitals brought about an increased focus on the development of alternative systems for the safe and effective treatment of people with mental health problems. One result of this focus was the introduction of the care programme approach or CPA (DoH, 1989; 1990a; 1990b). The main elements of the CPA are systematic arrangements for assessing the health and social needs of people accepted into mental health services, formulation of a care plan which identifies all health and social care needs, and appointment of a care co‐ordinator to keep in close touch with the patient and to monitor care, regular review, and, if necessary, agreed changes to the care plan.Though the CPA was originally seen as a mechanism to ensure proper aftercare for those discharged from hospitals, the Government later made it clear that it should be seen as a framework for the delivery of mental health care (DoH, 1998). All health authorities are now required to implement it for people with mental health needs referred to specialist psychiatric services.


Selby, G. and Alexander, R. (2004), "Care programme approach in a forensic learning disability service", The British Journal of Forensic Practice, Vol. 6 No. 4, pp. 26-31.

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