Study raises concerns over use of Community Treatment Orders

A briefing paper on Supervised Community Treatment (SCT) has highlighted “serious concerns” over the disproportionate use of Community Treatment Orders (CTOs) for people from black and ethnic minority communities.

The paper, by the Mental Health Alliance, presents the available evidence on the implementation and impact of the SCT arrangements some 21 months after their introduction in England and Wales on 3 November 2008.

Key messages from the report include:

• The use of supervised community treatment (SCT) in its first year was significantly higher than the Government expected. An estimated four to five thousand people are currently on community treatment orders (CTOs).

• In a consultation with over 9,000 psychiatrists, most of the 533 who responded thought that SCT was a useful option.

• There is very little information about its impact on people’s quality of life. Some people report having a better quality of life being supported in the community while others find CTOs unhelpful.

• Serious concerns include the overall increase of people under compulsory treatment, the disproportionate use of CTOs for people from black and minority ethnic communities, the possible use of SCT to discharge people earlier than they should be, shortcomings in community support, and delays in obtaining second opinions to authorise treatment.

Alison Cobb, Chair of the Mental Health Alliance, said: “We are concerned about the large numbers of people made subject to CTOs, given their coercive nature and the limited international evidence for positive effects.”

To view the paper please visit: