Aims and method Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) is associated with particularly high drop-out rates in the National Health Service (NHS). This paper seeks to investigate the characteristics of patients with borderline personality disorder dropping out from DBTand the role of care coordination in this phenomenon. Data for the 102 patients receiving DBT in east London, 58% of whom had dropped out of treatment prematurely, were analysed. Results In a multivariable analysis, a history of care coordination was the only variable significantly correlated with drop out: 88% of patients with a history of care coordination dropped out prematurely compared with 52% of patients without such history. Clinical implications The experience of comprehensive care within the care programme approach, particularly care coordination at the start of DBT, affects the retention of patients in DBT. Further qualitative research is required to understand how care coordination and DBT drop out are related, which could lead to changes in how the therapy is delivered in the UK and influence decisions regarding the use of care coordination with patients with borderline personality disorder.