Arrow ImagePICU & Rapid Response

Our PICU bed status - Wednesday 19 January

Today we have one male bed and one female bed available in Essex. Our Northampton wards have no availability today due to Covid-19 protocols (Bayley) and acuity (Heygate).

We PCR test every patient on admission which means that once a negative result is confirmed we can move them quickly to the ward, and are ready to support your next admission.

Scroll down for updated information about our updated protocols for new admissions and how we are working to keep our patients and staff safe.

Image shows morning in our Northampton grounds

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

Admissions from a healthcare setting

Where patients are admitted from a healthcare setting we ask the referring agency to confirm that the current ward has been Covid-19 free for the previous 10 days, with no symptomatic or positive patients within that setting. We will ask for a PCR test to be completed 48 hours prior to the agreed admission to St Andrew’s.

All admissions

This guidance applies to all admissions, transfers and patient/service user leave to general hospital or overnight leave.

  • On admission all patients will receive a PCR test and remain in isolation until their result is received.
  • Following a positive result patients will be quarantined for 14 days.
  • If a patient receives a negative result and displays no symptoms, their isolation will end and they will be allowed onto the ward with close monitoring for 6 days.
  • If a person’s PCR test result is negative but they displayed symptoms on admission they will remain in isolation until they have been symptom free for 48 hours.
  • If a swab is refused, the patient will need to isolate for 10 days.

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: 9AM Wednesday 19 January

1 Female Bed Available

Bayley 0 beds


Arrow Image Refer Now Arrow Image View Ward

Frinton 1 Bed Available Now


Arrow Image Refer Now Arrow Image View Ward

1 Male Bed Available

Audley 1 Bed Available Now


Arrow Image Refer Now Arrow Image View Ward

Heygate 0 beds


Arrow Image Refer Now Arrow Image View Ward

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.