Eating Disorders Service

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About the service

The Eating Disorders Service provides assessment and treatment for people with eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder and some atypical eating.  The service offers a person-centred approach to care, working with individuals to plan a treatment package that is best suited to their needs. Based on a philosophy of self-directed recovery, they encourage those in treatment to build a meaningful and fulfilling life beyond the confines of their eating disorder.

The Eating Disorders Service consists of a multi-disciplinary team and aims to work closely and flexibly with individuals, their families and others that are important to them. The service works with primary care (GPs) and secondary mental health services, in order to provide a comprehensive package of care.  The Eating Disorders Service also supports the process of admission and discharge for those needing an episode of inpatient care.

What we do

The team offers a range of psychological therapies as recommended by NICE. A typical outpatient treatment package for anorexia nervosa might last between 20 and 40 sessions. For bulimia nervosa, treatment packages ranging from 10-20 sessions is offered, although these can be extended depending on individual need.The Eating Disorders Service works closely with patients’ GPs to ensure safe management of the physical risks that often accompany an eating disorder.

Outpatient interventions include:

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (brief CBT and CBT-Enhanced)
  • Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
  • Guided Self Help
  • Group Dialectical Behaviour Therapy for Binge Eating Disorder
  • Carers Support Group
  • Family/Couple Work
  • Dietetic Support
  • Specialist Supportive Clinical Management (SSCM)
  • Maudsley Model of Anorexia Nervosa Treatment for Adults (MANTRA) 

This type of programme is for those stepping down from inpatient care or for those wanting more intensive support than provided in outpatient treatment alone. The Day Support Programme offers dietetic input, supported mealtimes and a range of therapeutic groups, aimed at supporting individuals to address the psychological issues underlying their eating difficulties. This programme is run in Southampton and is available up to five days a week. The structure of the treatment allows time and space for the knowledge and skills learnt through attending the programme to be practised and integrated into everyday life.

Accessing the service

To access this service, contact your GP to request a referral or, if you live in Portsmouth, you can self-refer by calling 023 8231 2000

The outpatient service is open Monday to Thursday from 8.00am to 5.00pm and Fridays 8.00am to 4.30pm (excluding bank holidays).

The Day Support Programme is open for more extended hours.

Referral process and criteria
Referrals should be sent in writing and include a summary of the presenting problem, such as severity of dietary restriction and rate of weight loss, frequency of binge eating and presence of any compensatory behaviours, such as vomiting or laxative misuse. Please also include current weight and height, a brief history of the presenting problem and a summary of any involvement with other health or mental health agencies. Referrals are discussed weekly and when necessary decisions regarding urgency are made in collaboration with the referrer.

If you are a GP wanting to refer to the service, please use the referral form via the Electronic Referral System (e-RS) which will autofill patient information for you. 

Click here for our referral form.

Click here for our referral criteria.

More information can be found in our leaflet. 

A guide to medical risk assessment for eating disorders

The new guidance Medical Emergencies in Eating Disorders (MEED) aims to help in the understanding of the medical risk of eating disorders and the use of the Mental Health Act in treatment. 

Although this is a lengthy guidance, risk assessment tables can be found on the following pages:

  • Table 1 - Risk Assessment Framework (pages 30-35)
  • Table 2 - Assessing Different Domains of Acute Risk (pages 37-39)
  • Appendix 3 - Medical Emergencies Checklist (page 183)


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