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Growth in prevalence of eating disorders prompts Care UK to expand service offering

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Care UK, which already runs two successful intensive rehabilitation units at Althea Park in Gloucestershire, has today completed the purchase of the Rhodes Farm Clinic which operates from Mill Hill in London and was formerly owned and run by Dr Dee Dawson.

NHS Hospital Episode Statistics for 2010 report an 11%* increase in the number of admissions to hospital for eating disorders compared to the previous year.  Anecdotal evidence also suggests that the average age of sufferers is getting younger and younger with the Rhodes Farm Clinic regularly treating girls as young as 10. Care UK sees Rhodes Farm as an excellent complementary addition to its existing eating disorder service which focuses on a highly successful rehabilitation and recovery approach. This approach places the emphasis on psychological and social interventions and on treating the psychological issues which underlie the eating disorder, rather than focusing exclusively on weight gain.

Rhodes Farm, as an acute facility, will continue to help young people attain a healthy weight in order to enable them to go on to engage effectively in a psychological and social therapeutic programme. More importantly they also provide a range of therapies designed to help young people and their families manage and understand eating disorders. Last year 87% of clients discharged were successfully supported in the community, preventing the need for readmission.

Care UK’s Managing Director for Mental Health, Dr Alison Rose-Quirie said: “Care UK offers a residential alternative to hospital treatment for people who have already tried other routes many times. A significant number of people with eating disorders get stuck in a ‘revolving door’ cycle of treatment and relapse. This pattern can seriously impact upon a person’s life and identity, as well as their physical and mental health. Our programmes are specifically designed to help young women with eating disorders bring about life change and not just weight change. We actively support people to rediscover an identity outside of their illness, an approach which can have dramatic positive results.”

Alison continued: “We plan to extend this approach to Rhodes Farm to add to its established reputation for successful weight restoration and psychological intervention and so develop a market- leading service that makes a real difference to the young person’s perception of themselves and to their future quality of life” Care UK’s approach has achieved some impressive results in the treatment of eating disorders. Their existing Gloucestershire-based eating disorder service treats those for whom, in many cases, all else has failed. Without support from Care UK’s eating disorder treatment, some previous patients could have died from conditions relating to their low weight.

One service user - Mary - beat anorexia after a 31 year battle with the disease. Care UK helped Mary on the journey to recovery from being so frail and undernourished that she had to use a wheelchair. Today she is an active woman who has been able to return to employment. Dr Rose-Quirie was impressed with the service already offered at Rhodes Farm and sees scope to develop synergies between the two services. It will extend the age range that Care UK can treat to include the girls in the 8-14 age bracket, its programme has a good track record of achieving successful long term outcomes, and its London location is convenient for many clients.

Alison Rose-Quirie is pleased to extend the range of Care UK’s eating disorder service. She said: “We fully expect that Rhodes Farm will continue to offer NHS commissioners and families an effective solution for acute cases and those in the younger age bracket. However, we will build on their existing therapeutic approach to include targeted interventions that have proved so successful at our existing Gloucestershire-based service to create an even more effective service. Hopefully, by identifying underlying issues earlier, we will help more girls and women to break this destructive cycle of treatment and relapse.”

Notes to editors
*Source:   (Re-used with the permission of The Health and Social Care Information Centre). Care UK is the largest independent provider of health and social care services in the UK. Over the course of a year, Care UK cares for approximately half a million people.

Pictured: Dr Alison Rose-Quirie

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