Community treatment orders in England: review of usage from national data – 2018

Aims and method
Community treatment orders (CTOs) have been in used in England and Wales since November 2008; however, their effectiveness has been debated widely, as has the question of which methodology is appropriate to investigate them. This paper uses national data to explore the use of CTOs in England.

About 5500 patients are subject to CTOs at any one time. Each year, ~4500 patients are made subject to a CTO each year and ~2500 are fully discharged, usually by the responsible clinician; fewer than half of CTO patients are recalled, and two-thirds of recalls end in revocation. The low rate of CTO discharges by mental health tribunals (below 5%) suggests that they are not used inappropriately.

Clinical implications
The introduction of CTOs in England has coincided with a reduction in psychiatric service provision due to the economic downturn. Pressures on services might be even more severe if patients currently subject to CTOs instead needed to be detained as in-patients.

Susham Gupta, Elvan U. Akyuz, Toby Baldwin and David Curtis
BJPsych Bulletin, 23 April 2018