Publications and resources

Below you can find a range of resources which explore the work of the network and good practices within psychiatric intensive care units (PICUs).

These standards have been developed in consultation with individuals from member services of the Quality Network for Psychiatric Intensive Care Units (QNPICU) programme, patient and carer representatives and other experts.

1. Mapping exercise

The first stage of this process was to review the existing QNPICU Standards for Psychiatric Intensive Care Units – 2 nd Edition (2020) to identify gaps, remove repetition and improve measurability.

The second stage involved mapping these standards against the Royal College of Psychiatrists Standards for Inpatient Mental Health Services – 4 th Edition (2022). The purpose of this stage was to identify published inpatient standards that were applicable to PICU services.

2. Literature review

A literature review and review of key documents was carried out (see reference list).

3. Electronic consultation

In December 2022, a survey was sent electronically to all QNPICU member services, the Advisory Group and Accreditation Committee to gather feedback on where changes to the second edition standards were needed. This survey offered the opportunity to provide feedback on the clarity and measurability of the standards, which standards required removal/altering and which standards were missing.

4. Standards Consultation Events

During the QNPICU Advisory Group meeting on 16 February 2023, the draft of the revised standards, based on the feedback received during the e-consultation, was shared for feedback and comments. This involved making changes to the draft standards and removing any standard that was no longer required. This meeting was replicated with the Accreditation Committee on 20 February 2023.

On 06 April 2023, QNPICU hosted a virtual standards consultation event. The event was attended by staff from PICU services and involved a brief introductory presentation on the process of developing the standards. This was followed by group discussions to decide on any changes to the revised standards and whether any further standards needed to be removed

5. Categorisation of standards

All criteria are rated as Type 1, 2 and 3.

Type 1: Essential standards. Failure to meet these would result in a significant threat to patient safety, rights or dignity and/or would breach the law. These standards also include the fundamentals of care, including the provision of evidence-based care and treatment.

Type 2: Expected standards that all services should meet.

Type 3: Desirable standards that high performing services should meet.

6. Involving family, friends and carers

The following standards uphold the principle that we wish to ensure positive engagement, support and collaboration from all those who are part of a patient’s life, whether family, friends, or carers in the pathway of care.

These standards do not supersede the patient’s right to privacy. The sharing of confidential information and/or contact with family, friends or carers must uphold the patient’s wishes and occur only with their informed consent.

This does not reduce the responsibility of services to support carers where required, ensure access to statutory carers’ assessments and provide general information about the service. The need to uphold public safety is not affected.

7. Sustainability Principles

The standards have been mapped against the College’s sustainability principles.

Services that meet 90% or more of the standards relevant to Sustainability Principles (marked with the green leaf logo, left) will be awarded a Sustainable Service Accreditation certification in recognition of provision of a sustainable mental health service.

We are excited to announce the spring/summer QNPICU newsletter is now available! The topic for this edition is Reducing Restrictive Practices within PICU Services. This edition can be accessed through the link below:

Previous editions can be found below:

If you have an article that you would like us to feature, or if you have anything to advertise, please email

The Quality Network publishes aggregated findings from the review process; the reports include information on key themes and shares best practice:

We have moved our email discussion groups onto a new, free to join, online forum called knowledge hub.

All our members are invited to join the QNPICU discussion forum on knowledge hub, which will allow you to:

  • Share best practice and quality improvement initiatives
  • Seek advice and connect with other members
  • Discuss current issues and policies
  • Share policies, procedures and guidelines
  • Advertise and view upcoming events and conferences

To join knowledge hub, please email ‘join knowledge hub’ to:

Psychiatric Intensive Care Units (PICUs) face a number of barriers to engaging carers due to the nature of services. The QNPICU Carers Working Group was introduced to explore these barriers and to identify good practice examples.

The Carer Engagement and Involvement guidance  was created in partnership with a range of professionals from different services and organisations as part of the Working Group. This guidance document aims to provide PICU services with good practice examples to help improve their engagement with carers. Within the document, the Family and Friends standards from the QNPICU 3rd edition (2023) have been included, with examples outlining what services can implement in order to meet these. 

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