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Care Programme Approach and Recovery

This study explored how effective service users find the Care Programme Approach in promoting recovery as they understand it.

This study was set up by the Mental Health Foundation, in partnership with NSUN, and was conducted by Dorothy Gould and Sarah Yiannoullou. Study participants were service users and survivors of 18 and above who have experienced the Care Programme Approach since October 2008 and who live in a London borough.

The Care Programme Approach was introduced in 1990 because of the closure of long-stay psychiatric services. It is a government measure designed to ensure that community mental health services work well for service users. The most recent form of the Approach dates from 2008 and is intended to provide support for mental health service users who have wide-ranging needs, or are particularly at risk. It is especially important, therefore, that services provided under this Approach are of high quality.

The study demonstrates that, whilst service users hold some positive views about the 2008 Care Programme Approach, they also think that significant improvements are needed if they are to recover. They are concerned about differences between service users' and professionals' ideas of recovery. They are disappointed,too, with the type of service provision on offer, with the disadvantages which service users from marginalised communities often face, with the involvement which service users have in their care plans and in strategic decisions and with unresolved differences between their concepts of recovery and the compulsory powers of the Mental Health Act 2007.

Read full report.

Read executive summary.