Who we are and what we do

The Quality Network for Psychiatric Intensive Care Units (QNPICU) adopts a multi-disciplinary approach to quality improvement, with a key component of our work being the sharing of best practice through the facilitation of peer-review visits.

Accreditation assures staff, service users, carers, commissioners and regulators of the quality of the service being provided. It also provides a platform for recognition for wards and units.

The Network serves to identify areas of achievement and areas for improvement in individual services, through a culture of openness and enquiry.

The model is based on engagement rather than inspection and this is achieved by facilitating and encouraging quality improvement through a supportive network of members and rigorous peer-review process.

The benefits of the accreditation process

  • A wide range of stakeholders are involved, including staff from all professional backgrounds, service users and their carers and partner organisations.
  • Development support: services are supported to identify and address areas for improvement.
  • Active ongoing network support: members are supported to share best practice, seek advice and pool learning through a regular newsletter, email discussion group, annual conference and publication of resources on a members-only website.
  • Sharing good practice: services are engaged with a network of peers, enabling sharing of good practice and providing a forum for advice and information sharing.
  • Personal development: individuals receive training and are able to improve their professional practice.
  • Spread of learning within the organisation: learning and innovations arising from the process are often spread beyond the participating service to other services within the organisation.
  • Benchmarking and trend analysis: we produce an annual national report enabling services to benchmark their own performance against other services, and identifying trends in service provision.

PICU-Who we are-review process

The accreditation programme takes from six to nine months from the time a service registers with the QNPICU. Accreditation is completed in three phases:

Phase 1: Self-Review

During this phase, the service will undertake a self-review, including a series of surveys for staff, patients and carers. 

These enable the multi-disciplinary team to review their local procedures and practices against the standards and, if necessary, to make the changes required to achieve accreditation.  The self-review will take place over three months. A summary of the results from the self-review forms the basis of the discussion at the peer-review visit. 

Phase 2: Peer-Review Visit by External Team

The peer-review visit takes places up to four weeks after you have completed your self-review.  A team of four professionals (comprising of staff from other member services), a service user and/or carer representative, and a Network representative will undertake a peer-review visit.  In addition to validating your self-review, the peer-review provides an opportunity for discussion, sharing of ideas and for the visiting team to offer advice and support.

Phase 3: Accreditation Decision

Information from the self- and peer-review is compiled into a summary report which is verified by the peer-review team and the service before being submitted to the Accreditation Committee (AC).  The Committee makes a decision about the service’s accreditation.

There are three categories of accreditation status:

  • Accredited
  • Accreditation deferred
  • Not accredited

Services that cannot achieve accreditation at the point of review but are expected to be able to do so in the near future are deferred for a time-limited period in which they must meet the necessary standards.

Accreditation is valid for up to three years, subject to satisfactory completion of an interim self-review.

Please contact us if you'd like more information on the network or you'd like to join.

Megan Georgiou, Programme Manager
Email: megan.georgiou@rcpsych.ac.uk
Tel: 020 3701 2701 

Membership registration for will be January - February 2019 for both membership options.

Peer-review membership option: 

This option will work on an annual basis, with services receiving a peer-review visit every year. This membership option is ideal for services new to the Quality Network, and those who need additional support to reach ‘desirable’ standards. Peer-review membership is a stepping stone towards accreditation and involves:

  • Two-month self-review process
  • Peer-review visit 
  • Localised report specific to your service
  • Action planning
  • Annual report

Unlike accreditation, there is no threshold to meet; services do not need to meet a percentage of type 1, 2 or 3 standards. This allows services to concentrate on improving their service, and gives time for more open discussions.

Accreditation membership option:

Accreditation membership works on a three-year cycle, with services receiving an in-depth peer-review visit and interim review within this time. This option is best suited for services familiar with the QNPICU standards, who have previously been through the peer-review or accreditation process. The review day will be more concentrated on the evidence provided, with a focus on how services are meeting the standards. This process involves:

  • Three-month self-review process 
  • Peer-review visit
  • Localised report specific to your service
  • Accreditation committee (AC) review for up to 12 months
  • Accreditation certificate (following AC decision)
  • Interim review after 18 months
  • Aggregated report

Services must meet 100% of Type 1 standards, and 80% of Type 2 standards in order to be awarded accreditation. Services will be accredited from their first presentation at the accreditation committee, and this will be valid for three years following a satisfactory interim review.


Both membership options are £2,000 + VAT

Member services can engage in our peer-review or accreditation programme.

Take a look at the services currently working with us (PDF).

Get in contact to receive further information regarding a career in psychiatry