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Community Adult Eating Disorder Service: south Essex


The Essex Community Adult Eating Disorders Service (CAEDS) is a specialist psychological treatment service commissioned to assess and treat moderate to severe eating disorders.

We primarily help people who are suffering with Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa and variations of these eating disorders. We are able to offer a range of therapies, which are evidence-based within the NICE guidelines for eating disorders.

We are an Essex-wide service delivered by two teams from three main bases. We also use a number of other sites across the county. Our main bases are located at:

  • The Northgate Centre, Colchester
  • Sankey House, Pitsea
  • CAEDS Grays Hall, Grays

We are a multi-disciplinary team, and the support we offer may consist of you working with one or more of the following people:

  • Consultant Psychiatrist
  • Dietitian
  • General Practitioners (GPs) with and Extended Role in Eating Disorders
  • Nurse Practitioners
  • Occupational Therapists, and an Occupational Therapy Assistant
  • Psychological professions, including:
    • Assistant Psychologists
    • Clinical Psychologists
    • Clinical Associates in Psychology
    • Counselling Psychologists
    • Psychological Therapists
  • Support Workers, including Physical Health Support Workers

We also have administrative support within the service, and host a number of professionals in training (such as trainee psychologists, nurses and occupational therapists).

Service Information

The therapies and interventions offered under our service depend on the appropriateness to your presenting difficulties, and the availability of services in your area. Our service offer may include any of the following treatments:

  • Specialist assessment for an eating disorder
  • Evidence-based psychological therapies, including:
    • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Eating Disorder (CBT-ED)
    • Maudsley Model of Anorexia Treatment for Adults (MANTRA)
    • Specialist Supportive Clinical Management (SSCM)
    • Family Therapy
  • Medical monitoring, including blood tests for those considered high-risk
  • Physical health monitoring, including weight and diet
  • Day-care provision, which can include therapeutic groups
  • Meal support with lunches and snacks
  • Dietetic input
  • Therapy groups (such as a Bulimia group)
  • Access to support for carers
  • Referral onto Specialist Eating Disorder Units, where appropriate

First Episode Rapid Early Intervention in Eating Disorders (FREED)

We know that early intervention in eating disorders can make a real difference. We are developing a new pathway in Essex called FREED, First Episode Rapid Early intervention in Eating Disorders. Currently this service is running in west Essex, southwest Essex, southeast Essex and northeast Essex only. We are not able to offer this service yet in mid Essex, which includes Braintree Chelmsford and Maldon, and the surrounding area.

Please do contact us if you would like to find out if FREED is available in your area.

The FREED pathway offers an enhanced opportunity to engage with specialist services to those who meet the criteria for the pathway. This includes aged 18-25, and with a first presentation of an eating disorder of under 3 years duration. In the FREED pathway we endeavour to engage the patient with a call within 48 hours of the referral; and if appropriate, offer an assessment within 2 weeks. After a multi-disciplinary team discussion to determine suitability then if appropriate, we aim to commence within 4 weeks an evidence-based treatment, as recommended in the NICE guidelines for an eating disorder.

Please visit FREED for more information.

FREED patient service charter

Patients and clinical staff develop the FREED patient service charter in partnership.

The FREED patient service charter provides a common language reflecting both the clinician and patient view of ‘what good looks like’ when receiving support from the FREED service, and states the priority outcomes the service needs to achieve. The wording of the FREED patient service charter provides a benchmark for inclusion in future FREED service monitoring and evaluations.

Referral Information

In the first instance you will need to book an appointment with your General Practitioner (GP) to discuss your concerns.  Depending on your needs your GP may refer you to the Mental Health Nurse or Mental Health Team, in order for a diagnosis to be made.  If appropriate you may then be referred to the eating disorders service. 
The referrer would usually provide us with information about you, including your body mass index ((BMI=weight in kg/ height in metres squared=kg/m2)), history of eating problems, current eating behaviour and type of eating disorder.  We do not accept direct referrals from members of the public.

Our referral form for clinicians enables us to triage referrals effectively.

There may be instances whereby we work together with other mental health services to enable all identified needs to be met. This may include you being allocated a care coordinator within the mental health team, reviews with your sector consultant psychiatrist or attending other interventions within the community mental health team such as psychology or occupational therapy.

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