Case management models and the care programme approach: how to make the CPA effective and credible

A. Simpson, C. Miller, L. Bowers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The care programme approach (CPA), a form of case management, is a key mental health policy in England. Yet after over 10 years, it remains poorly and unevenly implemented with few benefits for service users, carers or mental health staff. This paper reviews the wider literature on case management and identifies and considers the principal models that might have informed the development of the CPA. After discussing the evidence for each of the clinical, strengths, intensive and assertive case management models, the paper identifies the key components that appear to be central to effective case management across these models. These components are then considered in relation to the CPA. It is argued that the CPA has been undermined by a failure to incorporate and build on certain important features of the major models of case management. The paper concludes by suggesting the key developments required to make the CPA more effective and to underpin the policy with a unifying philosophy while endorsing it with much needed credibility among both clinicians and service users.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)472-483
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Psychiatric & Mental Health Nursing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2003


  • assertive community treatment (ACT)
  • care programme approach (CPA)
  • case management
  • clinical case management
  • strengths case management


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