16 Nov 2020

A NEW role has been created to help young people battling with eating disorders in Knowsley and St Helens to help spot the illness early and provide access to services more quickly.

Provided by North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, the First Episode Rapid Early Intervention for Eating Disorders (FREED) champion, will work alongside existing eating disorder services at the Trust.

They will specifically support 16 to 25-year-olds across the two boroughs, who have had an eating disorder for three years or less. This role was originally planned to be introduced in April but was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Trust is one of only 18 specialist eating disorder teams to be selected from across the country, to deliver this new model which is part of the NHS Long Term Plan.

The FREED champion will help in providing rapid access to specialised treatment for young people with a recent onset eating disorder. By giving special attention to the challenges young people face, the FREED model is much more effective than traditional methods at reversing the changes to the brain, body and behaviour caused by eating disorders.

Eating disorders can cause serious physical and mental health problems which can last for decades, which is why this new approach will target care to tackle problems before they escalate. Early intervention is therefore essential for preventing eating disorders from becoming chronic.

Dr Ashish Kumar, Associate Medical Director at North West Boroughs Healthcare, said:

“The Trust has been selected to be one of 18 national pilot sites to implement the new FREED champion model, which we are really excited about.

“By embedding FREED, it will allow us to intervene earlier and provide a new form of treatment. This brings our Trust to the national map of eating disorder services which offer this innovative model of treatment to young adults, and compliments our established children’s and adult’s eating disorder services.”

“We are really grateful that our Knowsley and St Helens commissioners supported our application.”

Patients wishing to access this service can be referred via their GP or through the main Eating Disorder Services for Knowsley and St Helens: www.nwbh.nhs.uk/ourservices