Suffolk: New treatment centre to help young people with eating disorders

THE first in-patient centre in Suffolk capable of treating young people with eating disorders will open next month.

Health bosses have said the facility at Oulton Broad, near Lowestoft, will mean that children and teenagers will be treated closer to their homes, rather than being sent out of the county for many weeks of rehabilitation.

The news comes just days after doctors warned the number of youngsters referred to them with eating disorders had risen by up to 20%.

Andy Goff, child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS) manager for Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said the eight bed unit, which is a result of �500,000 of improvements to existing buildings, would be a “step forward” for the county.

Mr Goff said: “It will be used to treat young people with a variety of mental health issues, but that will include those with eating disorders.

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“There are currently a number of people going out of the county location and young people with eating disorders don’t want to go miles away from home.”

Youngsters with dangerously low body mass indicator readings will stay under the care of an intensive support team until they start to put on weight.

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Mr Goff said that in-patient treatment would last, on average, about three months.

Patients would then be supported at home where “the best recovery takes place.”

The unit, which will employ 30 staff, is due to open in the second week of October.

The East Anglian Daily Times reported on Saturday how there had been anecdotal reports of a rise in the number of 13 and 14-year-olds treated for eating disorders.

Dr Vicky Moss, clinical lead in eating disorders for CAMHS, said: “I think we have seen an increase in the number of cases and the severity of cases generally.

“There are more referred and more of those referrals are in a critical state. By that I mean they are children who lose weight very rapidly and children who have stopped eating altogether.”

Dr Moss said it is important that parents act if they think their child could be suffering from an eating disorder.

“Parents often think it’s a phase but if child is routinely skipping meals and not making up for it later in the day or parents notice weight loss then I would suggest they do talk to the child about it and if worried take them to their GP and ask for support,” she said.

Beat – the national eating disorder charity - can offer a great deal of information and support through their helpline: 0845 634 1414 or website:

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