Care clustering

About care clusters

A care cluster is a grouping of similar mental health needs and experiences that service users have.

There are 21 mental health care clusters, which have been designed by the Department of Health, as part of the new way in which mental health services are funded and provided.

Each cluster considers the level of need, risk and treatment a given mental health diagnosis requires. They are divided into three main groups:

  • Non psychotic: This group covers the needs of people with anxiety and depressive illnesses. It also includes phobic, obsessive compulsive and eating disorders.
  • Psychotic: This group covers the needs of people with a form of psychosis, such as schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder.
  • Organic: This group covers the needs of people with dementia, including Alzheimer’s and other forms of brain injury affecting peoples’ mental health.

What does this mean for me?

When you are referred to North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust, you will have a full assessment of all your needs by an experienced mental health worker.

You will also be allocated to a care cluster. Each care cluster will describe the care and support (care pathway) that you may need to help your recovery.

You will be given information about who is likely to be involved, what they will be doing (interventions) and why they are doing it (aims/outcomes).

Recovery and wellbeing

All mental health care pathways are underpinned by the principles of recovery and well-being.

We will provide support to help you to work towards achieving meaningful and satisfying goals. These will be goals that you have identified as being important to you.

It does not necessarily mean that you will be symptom or problem-free, but a recovery approach will focus on your strengths and wellness.

Care and support

The care or support provided to you will aim to meet your agreed recovery needs. It will include a range of different options.

Some of these will be provided by North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust, including the social care element.

Other services will be provided by local partner organisations as appropriate, for example Brighter Futures, Changes, North Staffs Mind or Rethink.

Care coordination

Your care coordinator will explain what your care pathway involves and will answer any questions you may have about care clustering.


Your care and support will be reviewed with you (and your carer if appropriate) on a regular basis.

You will be given a review date. At the review, your cluster and pathway will be discussed, to ensure the care cluster you are in is providing you with the correct care and treatment to address your needs.

We would expect that most people will remain on the same cluster and pathway throughout their contact with mental health services.