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Group photo CPA conference
Health Series: Research Spotlight

Time to move on from the current approach to mental health care?

Leading national speakers explored the relevance of the current Care Programme Approach (CPA) to mental health care in England from both academic and healthcare perspectives.

by Shamim Quadir

Renowned speakers and delegates from across the country have taken part in a thought-provoking conference held to explore and challenge a key issue in mental health care.

‘Care Programme Approach in Mental Health Care: past, present and future – time to move on?’ was held at City, University of London and co-hosted by East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) in partnership with the University.

Nearly 200 delegates from across the UK heard about an innovative approach to care planning implemented at East London NHS Foundation Trust and the initial results of an evaluation undertaken by researchers at the University.

The partnership conference was organised by Alan Simpson, Professor of Collaborative Mental Health Nursing from the Centre for Mental Health Research, and Professor Frank Röhricht, ELFT’s Medical Director for Research and Medical Education. Delegates were welcomed to the conference by Professor Debra Salmon, Dean of the University's School of Health Sciences.

Professor Simpson said: “This was an excellent opportunity to explore and discuss this exciting innovation in care delivery and the initial results of our evaluation. We have had great feedback from delegates who came from afar as Cornwall and Guernsey.”

Professor Frank Röhricht said:

Our new approach to care planning has attracted a lot of attention and this event allowed us to discuss our experiences and the results of the evaluation with service users, carers, clinicians, service managers and national leaders in policy developments. It was a great example of the partnership between the Trust and the University.

Speakers outlined the historical context to developments and explored whether the Care Programme Approach (CPA) model, now nearly 30 years old, is still relevant today following changes in thinking about the delivery of mental health care, the increasing involvement of service users, and a focus on recovery.

Professor Tim Kendall, National Clinical Director for Mental Health NHS England, outlined how the new developments in care planning, that include greater involvement of service users, resonated with nationwide changes in the organisation of community mental healthcare.

Positive staff experiences in using the new care planning process were highlighted by Dr Sally Barlow and Dr Martin Cartwright, who presented initial results of the independent evaluation.

Other speakers included experts by experience, Sidney Millin and Felicity Stocker, ELFT Head of People Participation Paul Binfield, Dr Graham Fawcett and Professor Röhricht, who had all been involved in developing the new process.  Professors Tom Burns, David Kingdon and Alan Simpson outlined the historical background and Professor Stefan Priebe presented the research evidence form trials on patient related outcome measures and a structured solution focused engagement (DIALOG+) underpinning recent developments, before Dr Sri Kalidindi concluded by summarising the importance of care planning in good rehabilitation services.

Useful documents

Conference brochure

Presentation slides

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