New eating disorders unit opens

Posted on 21st September, 2006

A new unit to provide inpatient care and treatment for people with eating disorders was formally opened by Devon Partnership NHS Trust on Friday 22 September. Based at Wonford House Hospital in Exeter, the 12-bed Haldon Unit is a joint initiative between the mental health providers in Cornwall, Devon and Plymouth and is the first of its kind in the peninsula to offer a specialist inpatient service for eating disorders.  The creation of the unit follows a highly successful 18-month pilot project in North Devon and patients are now being admitted. Commenting on the opening, Marian Titley, Consultant Clinical Psychologist at the unit, said:  “The opening of the Haldon Unit represents a major step forward within the peninsula and everyone involved with the project is very excited at the prospect of developing one of the country’s leading centres for eating disorders.  We will now be able to provide more local care and treatment for as many as 40 women and men every year, many of whom would previously have been referred to specialist services outside the area. "As well as a lot of thought and planning going into the development of the treatment programme, which will focus on the needs of each person, a lot of hard work has gone into ensuring that the environment of the unit is homely, relaxing, welcoming and reassuring." "The pilot project in North Devon was extremely important.  The results of the audit, which used the guidelines set by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), showed that we had  been very successful in the assessment, treatment and weight gain of the patients.  We also ensured that they were involved in the negotiation of their goals for weight gain before and during their admission.  We are all committed to building on this success when the new unit is up and running." A wide range of treatments and therapies will be available to care for men and women, over the age of 16, with eating disorders of varying degrees of severity.  There are two high dependency beds, suitable for those with very low weight who may require bed rest or other high intensity care.  Eight beds are available for the people on the main programme and there is also a self-contained, two-bed rehabilitation flat which offers people greater independence whilst still receiving support from the unit if they need it. Treatment and care at the Haldon Unit will be focused on each person’s needs to help them overcome the restrictions imposed upon them by their eating disorder.  The multi-disciplinary approach includes psychiatry, psychology, nursing, occupational therapy, dietetics, family and creative therapies, including art and drama therapy.  Chief Executive, Iain Tulley, added:  “As we continue our programme of modernisation, we are looking to provide as many services as possible within the local area and the development of this unit is an excellent example of this.  Having local services is tremendously important to service users and their families but they also make sound financial sense, as they are invariably more cost effective.  Across Devon and Cornwall we spend somewhere in the region of £2 million a year on treating eating disorders.  The Haldon Unit will allow us to provide a first class service that is close to home but will also ensure that we make the best possible use of the limited resources at our disposal.” Click here for more information about the Haldon Unit