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The Care Programme Approach (CPA) is a systematic approach to information management which is used to coordinate case management, care planning and treatment planning in mental health services in the UK National Health Service. The mandated CPA documentation is a key tool for data collection and performance management and quality control throughout the service.

The Care programme Approach was first introduced by the UK Department of Health in 1991 and was developed to provide a framework for effective mental health care

The aims of the approachEdit

The main aim of the approach is to provide consistency so that all service users of mental health services are subject to the same health care process and are assigned to one of the two nationally defined levels of CPA, Enhanced or Standard. The level being dependent on their assessed level of need and available service provision.

The system aims to provide regular risk assessment, delivering services appropriate to the needs of service users, and support for service users and their wider family

The structure f the systemEdit

The recommended service framework should ensure that all user will get:

  • An initial intake interview and assessment so that there are systematic arrangements for assessing their health and social care needs of people accepted into specialist mental health services
  • A Care Plan is developed on the basis of the assessment so that each user has access to a document outlining the care they have agreed too.
  • A Care Co-ordinatoris appointed to keep in close touch with the service user and family and to monitor and co-ordinate the care provided.
  • A Review – Regular reviews are required to be held by the system so where necessary,changes to the care plan can be negotiated in the light of any changes.


  • Care Programme Approach Association – The CPA Handbook April 2004.

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