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Leading world expert on eating disorders joins Care UK

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Care UK’s unique range of eating disorder services has been further strengthened this month with the appointment of a highly distinguished consultant to its specialist services team.

Professor Bryan Lask has been appointed into a newly created role as Care UK’s medical director for eating disorders and other specialist services.  Professor Lask is renowned both nationally and internationally for his expertise in the field of eating disorders – particularly for his highly regarded research into the causes of this much misunderstood disease. He is past-president of the Eating Disorders Research Society and recipient of a lifetime achievement award from the Academy for Eating Disorders.

Prof Lask will be overseeing Care UK’s north London child and adolescent eating disorder service at Rhodes Farm and  will also take the lead on clinical matters across all the Care UK specialist services in Gloucestershire. These include community residential services for young people and adults who have suffered from an eating disorder for a number of years and for whom hospital treatment has not resulted in sustained recovery.  It also has a separate service for young people who display behaviours that put them at risk, including self injury.

The role with Care UK will also allow Professor Lask to continue his ground breaking research into eating disorders at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children. This research has covered all aspects of eating disorders in the younger population. One of the major breakthroughs has been the discovery of a specific brain abnormality that plays a major part in the development of anorexia nervosa. Care UK will sponsor this ground breaking research.

Care UK is one of the leading providers of treatment for people with acute, severe and enduring eating disorders. Many of the people treated in the two Gloucestershire-based services arrive at the centres after a number of hospital admissions but they have continued to relapse resulting in serious, potentially long term harm to their health. Care UK’s unique therapeutic model at these services places emphasis on addressing the psychological and social issues that are behind the eating disorder as much as focusing on weight restoration and management and it is this approach which has attracted Professor Lask to join Care UK.

Professor Lask said   “This treatment programme devised by Care UK allows people to build an identity distinct from their eating disorder and start to plan for the future; often for the first time. This innovative approach is key to the excellent success rates that I know are achieved. I’m confident that, with our increasing understanding of the neuroscience of eating disorders, we can continue to refine and enhance this service – particularly in the most challenging areas where, for example, a patient may present with other conditions such as self harm or obsessive behaviours. ”

The north London eating disorder service, Rhodes Farm, treats young people from six  to 19 years old –  offering in-patient, out-patient and day programmes. As well as treating the eating disorder, the team at Rhodes Farm also supports parents and ensures that patients are able to keep up with their school or college work during their recovery. There is an educational programme that mirrors the child’s own stage at mainstream school with two fully equipped classrooms and an examination centre offering all major school examinations and qualifications.

Professor Lask will work closely with Care UK’s existing team of therapists, psychologists, occupational therapists, psychiatrists, nurses and therapeutic care workers to ensure that all three eating disorders services in Gloucester and north London continuously evolve and improve to meet the growing need of this often misunderstood condition.

Professor Lask continued: “There is still much to learn about the causes and treatment of eating disorders. I’m confident that I will be able to bring my latest research and experience to what I know to be a highly successful front line service so that, together, we can remain at the cutting edge of treatment for severe and acute cases of these highly problematic illnesses.”

Managing director of Care UK’s mental health services, Dr Alison Rose-Quirie said: “I am absolutely delighted to welcome Bryan to Care UK. Together with the rest of my talented and experienced team I am sure that we will be able to offer some of the finest, most successful eating disorder services in Europe to help sufferers and their families to find a route to a happier, healthier future.”

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