Publications and resources

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

1. Mapping exercise

The first stage of this process was to review the existing QNPICU Standards for Psychiatric Intensive Care Units – 1st Edition (2017) to identify gaps, to remove repetition and to identify those standards which could be phrased in a more measurable way.

The second stage involved mapping these standards against the Royal College of Psychiatrists Standards for Inpatient Mental Health Services (2019). 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. Standards consultation event

QNPICU hosted a standards consultation event on 19 December 2019 for key stakeholders to comment on a draft of the revised standards. The event was attended by around 30 stakeholders including senior managers, multidisciplinary team staff, frontline staff, patients and carers.

Following a brief introductory presentation on the process of developing the standards, delegates worked in small groups making verbal and written comments on the standards before feeding back at the end of the day. The delegates were asked to remove the standards no longer required, add further standards and edit existing standards.

A meeting with the QNPICU advisory group was held to discuss the first draft of standards in detail.

4. Electronic consultation

In June 2020, a draft of the standards was sent electronically to QNPICU member services, distribution list and the QNPICU advisory group.

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 carer assessment and provide general information regarding the service. The need to uphold public safety is not affected.


We are excited to announce the winter QNPICU newsletter is now available! The topic for this edition is Technological Innovations 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:

Read more to receive further information regarding a career in psychiatry