Learning Disability - medium secure

Oak is a recovery-orientated medium secure service for women aged over 18 with learning disabilities and/or autistic spectrum conditions.

Based in Northampton, the philosophy of care on Oak is based on recognition that an individual has strengths as well as needs, and a right to support, treatment and care from a multi-disciplinary team able to assist recovery.

Oak provides bespoke care packages aimed at increasing skills in managing distress and psychotic symptoms, minimising risk, and enabling individuals to work towards realistic and achievable goals.

The least restrictive environment

We aim to care for patients in the most suitable and least restrictive environment to address their clinical needs and risks.

Patient transitions/next steps are considered at admission and our clinical and social work teams work with appropriate case managers and home area teams to facilitate the next phase of a patients care.


St Andrews Wards 220817 Panorama 035

Spacious communal area

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Outside space

St Andrews Fitzroy 291216 0667

Fitzroy House

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Interior of Fitzroy

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Communal Area

Admissions criteria

Oak accepts women aged 18 years and over with a learning disability.

Patients may also have a co-morbid needs:

  • ADHD
  • autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) or suspected ASD
  • mental illness
  • Personality Disorder
  • Complex PTSD
  • Developmental trauma
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Engage in behaviours that could attract a conviction and are challenging.

Due to their level of risk, patients would meet the criteria for detention under the Mental Health Act, including those on restricted sections.

These criteria are a guide for assessing suitability. Each patient will be individually assessed by our dedicated team.

Positive behavioural support

Our treatment programme incorporates the principles of the RAID (Reinforce Appropriate and Implode Disruptive) model providing positive, meaningful engagement and reinforcement.

Total Communication aids and enhances patient’s communicative strengths and needs. We value all forms of verbal and non-verbal communication, which can include sign-language, symbols and photos.


Adapted therapies and treatment interventions

Throughout, assessment tools and interventions are selected to take into account the individual needs of the patient.  All such interventions are fomulation-led, time limited, based on clearly defined behaviours to target change and seek to reinforce adaptive pro-social behaviours.

Recently we’ve utilised Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to teach adaptive coping skills with our female, forensic learning disability inpatients with initial results demonstrating its effectiveness for increasing self-relaxation.

In addition, St Andrew’s has a specialist adapted Learning Disability Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) service which delivers DBT in a way that is accessible to patients with complex mental health and forensic needs.

The programme works with sensory integration techniques, helping patients to develop skills in self-regulation and functional performance, through weekly DBT skills groups, mindfulness practice sessions and 1:1 therapy sessions.


A holistic approach to treatment

A range of pathway specific treatments and services are provided through a comprehensive MDT, enabling the delivery of a tailored, holistic care programme:

  • Psychology; including coping skills development, problem solving, gaining confidence and assertiveness.
  • Psychology; explorative or offence-related work  
  • Social work; child visits, home visits, safeguarding and staying safe.
  • Occupational therapy; cooking, horticulture, self-care and domestic activities.
  • Speech and Language therapy
  • Vocational opportunities at Workbridge.