About the project

People who use mental health services often have complex needs, which cannot easily be met without the help of people working in different teams. Sometimes help is needed from GPs and others in primary care, and sometimes from people (like nurses, psychiatrists, social workers, psychologists and therapists) working in secondary mental health services. Sometimes people need particularly intensive, short-term help from staff working in hospitals or in crisis teams. Sometimes people need help with education, leisure, work, housing and finances.

The care programme approach (CPA) was introduced over 20 years ago with the aim of making sure that people’s needs were fully assessed, and that appropriate services were provided, coordinated and reviewed. In its original form the CPA was largely administrative, functioning as a form of case management but lacking an underpinning set of principles. This has changed over time. Throughout the UK (and around the world) the idea of helping people towards ‘recovery’ from mental ill-health has become particularly important. More recently still, the idea that services should be more closely tailored (or personalised) has emerged. Reflecting these shifts in values, the CPA in England is now being thought of as the vehicle through which recovery-oriented, personalised, mental health care is provided and coordinated. In Wales, where the devolved government has authority over health and social care, a law has been passed requiring everyone accepted for secondary mental health services to have a comprehensive care and treatment plan (CTP), to be coordinated by a professional.

This is the context in which the COCAPP and COCAPP-A projects have been designed and are being undertaken. As a research team we are comparing and contrasting English and Welsh policy for care planning and care coordination in community and acute mental health settings.


Cross national study – England and Wales

We are mapping the research and policy literature in this area, and generating detailed data in six parts of the two countries (four in England, two in Wales). We aim to find out how care is actually planned and coordinated, and how this is experienced by people using services and their carers.

Our community-based care planning project (COCAPP) was completed in late 2014; the final report is currently awaiting publication by the National Institute for Health Research. We will be posting a more bite-sized summary of our findings on the blog in due course.


The COCAPP and COCAPP-A projects are funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Services and Delivery Research Programme (COCAPP project number: 11/2004/12; COCAPP-A project number: 13/10/75).

The views and opinions expressed on this blog site are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the HS&DR Programme, NIHR, NHS or the Department of Health.

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