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Title/Topic: New Help in Norfolk, UK for Eating Disorder Sufferers
Posted On: 10/8/2009
Oct 8 2009, Norfolk, England (Norwich Evening News 24) – Major steps have today been taken to radically change the way people with eating disorders are treated in Norfolk.

Health bosses have vowed to intervene at the earliest opportunity when there are concerns patients may be developing anorexia or bulimia.

NHS Norfolk has published details of the new Community Eating Disorders Service it expects to be up and running from June next year.

It means people who suffer from conditions such as anorexia, bulimia nervosa or binge eating disorder will receive more help, more quickly, near to where they live.

NHS Norfolk has developed the service by asking people with eating disorders and carers what they wanted and the new service will conform to national guidelines.

They include:

– Patients needing urgent medical intervention should be seen within four days.

– The vast majority of others – 90pc – of all patients referred with an eating disorder – should be assessed by a clinician within a minimum of 28 days.

-As a baseline, treatment must begin within the national target time of 18 weeks.

Mark Weston, assistant director for commissioning of mental health services, said NHS Norfolk acknowledged that care for people with eating disorders needed to be improved.

He said: “The aim of the new Community Eating Disorders Service is clear – to ensure that people suffering from eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia nervosa are identified and helped to recover as early as possible. Most should receive the help they need, close to where they live.

“Evidence surrounding eating disorders suggests that making the services available to people within their communities can significantly reduce the need for admissions into clinics or even acute hospitals.”

Beat, the city’s eating disorder charity, welcomes today’s announcement.

A spokeswoman said: “We are very aware that individuals are often left to wait for urgently required medical intervention. Eating disorders are serious psychiatric conditions and can have severe medical consequences so the earlier a patient is seen and referred for specialist treatment, the greater the chances of a long term recovery.

“Beat will be monitoring the future developments of treatment provision in Norfolk and the commitment by the health services that the necessary specialist treatment is provided in the shortest possible timescale.”

NHS Norfolk has also promised that once the service is up and running the “ultimate goal” will be to make access to non-urgent cases within two weeks.

Chris Robinson’s daughter Charlotte died at the age of 18 in 2007 after suffering from anorexia. Since her deaths her parents have urged health bosses to act urgently to prevent further deaths from eating disorders.

He said: “I welcome a positive step in dealing with eating disorders and I hope this will be established as soon as possible. We need to change the treatment of young people with this illness.”

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