Assertive outreach: Policy and reality
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Aims and method: This survey set out to profile the case-loads of assertive outreach teams in North East England, to discover whether they were reaching the people for whom they were meant. A survey of case-loads of 29 assertive outreach teams was carried out using the MARC-2, HoNOS and GAS instruments. Findings were compared with earlier surveys of the case-loads of community mental health teams in parts of the same region. Results: Clients of assertive outreach teams proved to be at the more severe end of the spectrum on almost every measure: 95% were deemed 'psychotic' and 30% had three or more admissions in the previous 2 years. Conclusions: Assertive outreach teams in the North East are reaching the people they are meant to target. The effects of this shift on existing teams remain to be evaluated.