19 July 2013
Another step forward in eating disorders support for Bristol
Demand for eating disorder services has risen
consistently over the last five years, with the South West seeing a
greater rise than anywhere else in the country. Referrals to Avon
and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust's (AWP) own
Specialist Eating Disorder Service (STEPS) have increased by around
50% since 2006.
First Step, which launches on 19 July, is an
important response to that need for services and is a partnership
between AWP and the University of Bristol Students' Health
First Step is a primary care eating disorders
service and will act as a gateway to the Trust's eating disorders
care pathway, delivering evidence-based treatments such as enhanced
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy in all GP surgeries across Bristol.
A successful pilot project in 2009/10, run at the University of
Bristol Students' Health Service based at Hampton House, saw a 44
per cent reduction in referrals to STEPS from the practice.
The principle behind the service is to treat people effectively
before their condition requires specialist help. It also
significantly decreases the length of time between requesting
specialist help and receiving it.
Following the successful pilot, this innovative service model is
attracting national attention, and already shaping the redesign of
services in London and beyond.
Dr Dominique Thompson, Director of the Students' Health Service,
said: "The Students' Health Service is really excited to celebrate
this innovative service for supporting anyone seeking help with an
eating disorder in Bristol. We have seen dramatic improvements
in our students who participated in the pilot, and the feedback has
been consistently great. This service should significantly ease
access to services for the whole city. We are proud to have led
Will Devlin, the AWP clinical psychologist leading on the new
service said: "First Step has been shaped by GP
recommendations, and the wishes of people who use the service. We
hope that this innovation offers people more choice and better
access to specialised services closer to home."