Arrow ImagePICU & Rapid Response

Our Acute and PICU bed status - Friday 20 May

Going into the weekend we have male PICU beds available across both our Essex and Northampton sites; Audley has limited availability and is unable to offer seclusion for any admission. We also have female beds across both of our sites.

Our Acute male ward in Essex also has 2 beds available today.

Our Neurobehavioural Rapid Response service offering short-term stabilisation, admission and assessment for people with a brain injury or PNC has one male bed available today. To discuss a Rapid Response referral please scroll down this page for the specific contact details.

New Male Acute Ward - Now open

Our new short stay Acute male Admission Ward - Benfleet - is now open

Suitable for men over the age of 18 years who have been detained under the Mental Health Act and who are experiencing a relapse or crisis in their mental wellbeing. Benfleet will offer a safe environment where our expert MDT will work with people so they can be transferred to more appropriate settings or discharged at the earliest opportunity if they are well enough to return home.

To make an enquiry please telephone 01268 723 920

Our four male and female PICU wards are based centrally across Northampton and Essex offering 24/7 rapid assessment, intensive treatment and stabilisation for people with acute phases of mental illness, we aim to give you a decision on your referral within the hour. 

To make an enquiry or discuss a referral please contact our wards directly

Heygate ward – Male PICU N'ton Tel: 01604 616 111 Email:

Bayley ward – Female PICU N'ton Tel: 01604 614 584 Email:

Audley ward – Male PICU Essex Tel: 01268 723 930 Email:

Frinton ward – Female PICU Essex Tel: 01268 723 860 Email:

Rapid Response service - For acquired brain injury, complex dementia or Huntington's disease

Male or Female Northampton - Telephone: 0800 434 6690   Email:

Our current Covid-19 Testing and Quarantine Protocols for New admissions

New Covid-19 testing and isolation guidance for patients - 10/05/2022

There is now updated Covid-19 guidance for healthcare settings, which means there are some changes to the admissions and isolation processes affecting our patients:

1. New admissions will need to isolate and complete a lateral flow test. If negative, the patient can end isolation, but if positive the patient will remain in isolation, see below

2. Patients that have received a positive result can end their isolation before the 10 days if they have 2 consecutive negative LFT results 24 hours apart. This testing will be done from day 5.

Short term quarantining ensures the safety of all of our patients and staff.

How have you found our PICU referral to admission process? CLICK HERE to let us know

Live PICU Update

Updated: 1PM Friday 20 May

3 Female Beds Available

Bayley 1 Bed Available Now


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Frinton 2 Beds Available Now


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4 Male Beds Available

Audley 1 Bed Available Now


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Benfleet 2 Beds Available Now


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Heygate 1 Bed Available Now


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Meet our PICU multi-disciplinary team

Our PICU ward teams offer an extensive multi-disciplinary approach in their care of our patients. Here some of the team come together to share what they think sets our service apart from many others.

Being flexible, having good levels of communication, meeting regularly and having good physical services, both inside and outside of the units, are real positives for St Andrew’s’ Dr Shubhinder Shergill

With male and female wards in Essex and Northampton our PICU service is for people who need more intensive levels of support and care. They may be at higher risk of being violent to other people and they may be a risk to themselves. We provide them with an environment that is quieter and very highly staffed.

From the moment someone comes through the door of our PICU services, we’re working towards their recovery, so they can move back to their community as quickly as possible.

When I got to St Andrew’s there was something that really blew me away in comparison to one of the places I’d worked before, it wasn’t as patient-led as it is here….knowing that the patient was at the centre of their care, that they had an opinion and a voice and that they were really heard by everyone involved’ Lynsey Harradence, OT Technical Instructor

Our PICUs at a glance

Our PICUs offer a short period of rapid assessment, intensive treatment and stabilisation for people with acute phases of mental illness who are in need of emergency psychiatric care.

24/7 admissions service with decision within an hour of a referral.

Our team are expert in treating people with acute mental illness and complex needs, offering a range of group and individual therapeutic interventions to meet the patient’s needs at different stages of their recovery.

Included in the daily bed rate:

  • No admission fee
  • Assessment on admission
  • All medication included on the ward from admission.

Referrals accepted direct from Clinical Commissioning Groups and Foundation Trusts.

All our PICU wards are members of NAPICU, and adhere to the NAPICU minimum standards and their admissions criteria.

Ross Callaghan

Ross Callaghan

  • Nurse Manager - Essex PICU
  • I’ve been working in Mental Health Services since 1997 having qualified in 2001 and I’ve worked at St Andrews Healthcare since 2004.
  • What are the biggest challenges in your job? Building a rapport and understanding with people who have had a traumatic period leading up to their admission to a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit.
Akim Bande

Akim Bande

  • Nurse Manager - Heygate
  • I've been a nurse for 20 years, and have worked at St Andrew's for 16 years.
  • What do you most enjoy about your job? It's always rewarding to see patients being discharged to join their families or going back to work following a short hospital admission.
Jackie Branston

Jackie Branston

  • Senior Occupational Therapist
  • I have 11 years experience of working with people who have complex mental health conditions, all within St Andrew's.
  • What do you enjoy about your job? I find pleasure from the feedback that we receive from our patients when they are on their recovery journey. The Occupational Therapy team are often complimented around the variety of alternative sessions we offer.
Rosalee Reading

Rosalee Reading

  • PICU Social Care Assistant
  • I have 10 years’ experience in mental health; 3 years in nursing and 7 years in social work
  • What do you enjoy about your job? I enjoy being involved with family and carer liaison and support, and seeing patients recover quickly and being able to return to their lives is also very rewarding.

Our Rapid Response Service at a glance

As part of our Neurobehavioural services we also offer rapid assessment and admission for patients with an ABI or PNC whose behavioural presentation or cognitive function has deteriorated and who require urgent stabilisation and intensive therapy in a safe environment.

Our programmes deliver treatment to support a return to community once the crisis period has subsided, and also offers a service for patients requiring a more extensive care package.

Make a referral: 0800 434 6690

Download our Rapid Response service leaflet here (PDF link)

Male or female patients aged 18-65 years typically present with:

  • an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI), including organic brain injury
  • progressive neurological conditions (PNC), such as complex dementia and Huntington's disease (HD)
  • acute metal illness or an exacerbation of a chronic mental illness
  • challenging behaviours as a result of a mental illness
  • significant risk, including aggression to self and others, absconding and / or vulnerability
  • who require relatively short-term intensive care in a safe environment
  • and have been detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 (as amended by the Mental Health Act 2007).

Support for carers, family and friends

The therapeutic value of regular engagement with family and friends can be key to a person’s recovery and thankfully we are now able to welcome family and carers back on site.

  • We know that being a relative, carer or friend of someone who has been admitted onto one of our PICU wards can be worrying and stressful and our Carers team is here to provide emotional support and help with issues such as health and money.  Our Carers Centre is currently closed due to Coronavirus but the team can be contacted on 01604 616125, and a support line is available Monday to Friday, visit our carers pages for more information.
  • For family visiting our Northampton site, St Andrew's are able to offer some accommodation if there is availability. Due to Covid restrictions this is currently only available to one family at a time and needs to be booked via the ward social worker.