Arrow ImagePICU & Rapid Response

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: [email protected]

Bayley ward – Female PICU N'ton Tel: 01604 614 584 Email: [email protected]

Audley ward – Male PICU Essex Tel: 01268 723 930 Email: [email protected]

Frinton ward – Female PICU Essex Tel: 01268 723 860 Email: [email protected]

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

Male or Female Northampton - Telephone: 0800 434 6690   Email: [email protected]


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


 Our PICU multi-disciplinary team - meet Annymn, Lead Occupational Therapist

This week we hear from Annymn Adams, Lead Occupational Therapist in our Essex PICU services.  In her video Annymn talks about her extensive career in acute mental health services and how she gains so much satisfaction from watching patients recover and progress to the point at which 'you begin to see the real person not just an illness' 

During therapeutic sessions our OTs will work with patients to acheive some of the following goals:

  • Reality orientation – encouraging patients to be aware of; themselves, their environment and their situation 
  • Emotional regulation – with a focus on sensory and relaxation sessions
  • Positive communication - ‘the more that patients feel that they can communicate their needs to us and we communicate with them what’s going on, the more productive our relationships can be’  Lynsey Harradence, OT Technical Instructor


Live PICU Update

Updated: 9AM Friday 18 June

1 Female Bed Available

Bayley 0 beds


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Frinton 1 Bed Available Now


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2 Male Beds Available

Audley 1 Bed Available Now


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Heygate 1 Bed Available Now


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Our therapeutic approaches and environments

Our extensive on-site multi-disciplinary team mean that our PICU patients have access to a wide breadth of therapeutic interventions and support including:

  •  Sensory Integration trained therapists
  • Dedicated Arts therapists
  • Rapid internal and external leave assessments completed with our ward based Occupational Therapists following admission
  • Patient led Community meetings.

 Our ward environments are also specifically designed to support patients, providing designated spaces that are key to our therapeutic approach:

  • Sensory/Chill-out rooms to support patients with increased arousal levels and help them to develop self-regulatory sensory strategies
  • Therapy gardens helping to promote pride and personal achievement and offering opportunities to engage in activities that encourage positive connections within a physical and social environment
  • A wide variety of sports facilities and sessions combatting physical health issues, promoting positive emotional regulation and improving self esteem

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, six months on, we are currently 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.