Published online by Cambridge University Press: 02 January 2018
The establishment of mental health teams which take responsibility for small geographical catchment areas has been a fundamental element in the planning of community services in most Western European countries over the last decade. This idea is challenged in the companion paper in this issue of Psychiatric Bulletin which refers to catchment areas as a “relic of the past”. The case is put for catchment areas in terms of their planning, service delivery and quality advantages for the development of comprehensive inter-agency mental health services. In brief, it is argued that community mental health services are still in many areas poorly developed (Audit Commission, 1994; Faulkner et al, 1994), and that catchment areas are necessary but not sufficient for their fuller realisation.