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New bed for anorexia sufferers

PUBLISHED: 08:00 09 January 2009 | UPDATED: 07:53 01 August 2010

ANOREXIA sufferers from Waveney who need round-the-clock care could be given the chance to stay in a hospital near their home, thanks to a pilot scheme.

ANOREXIA sufferers from Waveney who need round-the-clock care could be given the chance to stay in a hospital near their home, thanks to a pilot scheme.

From this week All Hallows Hospital in Ditchingham is earmarking one of its beds solely for patients with complex eating disorders, mainly anorexia.

The hospital has teamed up with Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health Trust to allow patients to receive their physical care from hospital staff while continuing treatment for their eating disorder with the Trust's clinicians.

Currently the Trust does not have in-house beds for people with eating disorders, but refers patients for treatment at centres in Norwich, Cambridge and Colchester.

Dr Paul McMahon, consultant psychologist from the Trust, said the pilot aimed to allow patients, who are expected to stay between one and three months, to remain near home.

He said: “For many years we have been sending people away to special units which are usually fairly remote from where they live.

“From the clinical care point of view this new way could have had very real advantages, particularly for the continuity of care and for the person and their family. If they stay locally, everybody's happier.”

He said that the initial three-month contract is expected to be renewed for a further three-month spell before the partners assess the success of the pilot scheme, under which the Trust provides the funding for the bed. Depending on the outcome a second bed at the hospital could be allocated for the same purpose, and the system could be replicated in other areas covered by the Trust.

Dr McMahon added that last year eight people from Waveney, all women, were sent for treatment at units away from home, and that at least six of them could have been suitable for treatment at a place such as All Hallows. Patients suitable for such a placement must be over 18, and must be considered not at risk of harming themselves or others.

All Hallows is an independent hospital, owned by the Community of all Hallows, a registered charity. Its 21 in-patient beds provide mostly palliative, intermediate, GP assessment and rehabilitation care as well as a long-term care unit for young people with a physical or sensory disability.

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