Our adult mental health inpatient wards have been acknowledged as providing high quality care after being officially accredited by the ‘AIMS’ programme, an initiative supported through the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Four wards in Oxfordshire and three wards in Buckinghamshire have now been accredited.

The Accreditation for Inpatient Mental Health Services (AIMS) programme is designed to assure staff, patients and carers about the quality of inpatient services by ensuring units are complying with a set of standards that reflect issues which make a positive and tangible difference to patient experience. These standards cover five themes: general management of the ward; the admission and care planning process; patient safety; the nature of the environment; and the type of therapies provided.

The accreditation process involves self-review where wards report on their own standards and staff, patients and carers are also asked to complete questionnaires about the five areas. This is followed by a peer review where the wards are visited by AIMS assessors (including patient and carer representatives) before recommendations are put before the Royal College of Psychiatrists Accreditation Committee.

The purpose of these peer review visits is to provide assurance that the service is safe, admissions and discharges are timely, therapies and activities are being offered and provided to enhance other treatments on offer and patients and carers feel informed and cared for.  They also look to see that the service is well led by compassionate leaders who listen to staff, who are supported and that they are appropriately and sufficiently trained. They also seek to ensure that the service is flexible and effective to respond to individual need, population demand, service improvement and development.

We are pleased to announce that we have received accreditation for seven of our acute inpatient units, with Opal Ward cited as an ‘excellent’ example of a rehabilitation ward.