Carlisle psychiatric ward receives Royal College of Psychiatrists Accreditation

Posted: 10/02/21

Hadrian Unit, an acute psychiatric ward, has recently received accreditation from the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Accreditation for Inpatient Mental Health Services (AIMS) programme, which recognises good practice and high-quality care.

The Unit is based at the Carleton Clinic in Carlisle, and is run by Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW), a leading provider of mental health and disability services in the region.

AIMS works with services like Hadrian Unit to assure and improve the quality of acute inpatient mental health services. Through a comprehensive review process, the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Combined Committee for Accreditation recognises good practice and high-quality care whilst supporting services to identify and address areas for improvement.

To ensure the Unit met the standards required for AIMS accreditation, the team spent time reviewing recent developments and good practice in the service. This included the Unit’s adoption of Talk1st, CNTW’s trust-wide patient safety initiative, and ‘Triangle of Care’ principles.

The team also reviewed their most recent CQC reports (and findings from more recent mock CQC inspections), audits, and clinical meetings to consider their service’s current strengths and review areas where they needed to develop. They also supported staff to attend some additional training opportunities.

“Most importantly,” Ward Manager Jayne Richardson explained, “we spent time with service users and their family and carers, to gain their perspectives as to how we were meeting these standards.

“The current COVID-19 restrictions have presented some challenges to us ensuring we are meeting the AIMS standards. But staff and service users have been inspired to get creative and go beyond the traditional ways of working – for example, we have embraced more use of technology to help families and carers stay in touch with their loved ones where visiting isn’t possible.

“We have invested a lot of time and resources into making sure that good communication could continue between service users and their families throughout the pandemic.

“This is really important, to allow up-to-date information to be shared, and to ensure that service users and their families were properly involved in all decisions made about their care and treatment.”

This was reflected in the feedback which was gathered as part of the accreditation process. One carer said, “Every time I visited [Hadrian Unit] I was greeted with a warm and friendly manner, which makes a huge difference as a family member. I felt fully involved and included throughout the past 11 months, and your communication has been faultless!”

Jayne Richardson said: “Receiving this accreditation from the Royal College of Psychiatrists is a reflection of all the teams’ hard work over what has been a really challenging year. It demonstrates our commitment to providing high standards of care, improving service users experience and promoting recovery. As Ward Manager, I am really proud of the whole team for this achievement.”

Jose Robe, Group Nurse Director for the Trust’s North Cumbria Locality, added: “We were delighted to hear the positive news that Hadrian Unit achieved their AIMS Accreditation. This is a great achievement for all the staff working on Hadrian Unit, particularly given that this review process took place against during the very challenging background of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Read more about AIMS accreditation on the RCPsych website.