Young people with eating disorders are to get rapid access to specialist NHS treatment across England.
The NHS has announced that it will scale up an early intervention service to support young people in the early stages of eating disorders.
The new NHS service, to be rolled out in 18 sites across the country, builds on a successful scheme shown to help 16-25 year olds in London.
The expanded service will target care to those who have been living with a condition for fewer than three years, to tackle problems before they escalate.
Teens or young adults coming forward who would benefit from treatment can be contacted within 48 hours and with treatment beginning as soon as two weeks later.
The approach is based on a successful model developed and trialled at King’s College London and the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, with support from the Health Foundation. It has been shown to reduce wait times and improve patients’ outcomes.
The investment in the early intervention - First Episode Rapid Early Intervention for Eating Disorders (FREED) - service is part of the NHS Long Term Plan.
Professor Tim Kendall, NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Mental Health, said: “Young people who are struggling with an eating disorder stand to benefit significantly with the roll out of this new NHS service which will provide access to early intervention, treatment and support.
“These services have already proven to be effective and the expansion in care we have announced today will support our ambition to meet the rising demand for support to tackle young people’s ill health.
“And although we are in the throes of a pandemic, the NHS continues to offer face-to-face appointments and inpatient care for patients with eating disorders when needed, while providing the option of phone and video consultations and online support where appropriate.”