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Assertive community treatment is one of the most researched and clinically replicated of all community mental health teams. It is clearly defined with established scales to measure its model fidelity. In the last decade its earlier claims to substantially reduce hospitalization have not been replicated in research studies. This inconsistency has generated considerable controversy. A careful systematic review and meta-regression analysis was conducted of 64 trials including 7,819 patients. The review included measures of model fidelity and hospitalization outcomes. Variation in reduced hospitalization was found to be mainly due to variation in control service practice but model fidelity to team organization principles was also associated with reduced hospitalization. Low caseloads and specified ACT staffing, however, had no effect at all on outcome. 'Ordinary CMHTs' share most of the organizational aspects of ACT and appear to deliver equal outcomes with much reduced resources. The value of investing in high fidelity ACT teams must, therefore, be in doubt.

Original publication




Journal article


Int Rev Psychiatry

Publication Date





130 - 137


Community Mental Health Services, Humans, Incidence, Mental Disorders, Surveys and Questionnaires