"Concerns about access to help for daughter's eating disorder"

About: Mersey Care NHS Trust / Eating disorders

(as a parent/guardian),

Firstly I cannot thank enough the therapist that my daughter sees. I feel without her my daughter would not be with us today.

The waiting time to be accessed has to be reduced. The waiting time once accessed has to be reduced. To be not perceived 'ill enough' because your BMI hasnt yet reached the critical level. The not ill enough for treatment has to change. Eating disorders as you will well know has the highest mortality rate of any mental health illness and you don't have to have a low BMI to die. BMI is only part of the story, yet they appear to be the benchmark for everything.

I am appalled that no proper plan of action is given either to the patient or the carer, including an eating plan. Yet I am to understand this is not the case in other parts of the country. Why is it not the case in Liverpool? In other parts of the country, services appear to work hand in hand or at least linked to have a plan of action.

In our experience we are not aware of what or how the eating disorder service my daughter is under has planned the treatment.

We were told at the start of therapy that the eating disorder service does not offer any physical/medical care other than therapy and that would have to be carried out by her GP. Unfortunately, and I am to understand in the majority of cases, our GP although sympathetic did not have the experience or knowledge on eating disorders. All the tests and referral request have been asked for mainly by ourselves. We asked for a bone density scan and have discovered my daughter now has osteoporosis in one of her vertebrae. If the test had been done earlier possibly this could have been prevented.

Our last request was when we asked to see a nutritionist or a dietician who could put together an eating plan as my daugther was struggling with how to go about upping her calories, and needed advice on the best way forward with her nutrition

We have been told that anyone over the age of 18 who are no longer under CAMHS do not get the support of a nutritionist.

My daughter also suffers with anxiety and depression. Although I am fully aware that eating disorders are not about food, I believe without a proper eating plan in place there is no starting place or point for recovery.

The service for eating disorders feels very hit and miss, falling between two stools being refered but no one being able to really help. I have no doubt in my mind that if our daughter had been assessed earlier and started therapy earlier along with a treatment/eating plan the anorexia would not have got a hold as much it has. In the meantime you watch your daughter fade away and suffer in the way no person should have to.

To have to take your daughter to A&E because of of a suicide plan is something a mother and father should never have to do. The help and support for carers is almost non-existent.

I want to walk the talk and find ways of changing this and would appreciate any help or advice you could give me to help this happen.

Thank you.

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Response from Kim Guy, PALS Manager, Mersey Care NHS Trust

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience through Patient Opinion

The Eating Disorder Service is commissioned to provide a psychological therapy service that is provided by a consultant psychotherapist, clinical psychologist, cognitive behavioural therapists, psychological therapy practitioners, one of whom is also a systemic family therapist and a psychology assistant and therefore do not have our own dieticians, nurses or doctors.

This is a well-established service that meets the needs of people over the age of 16 who live in Liverpool and Sefton. We have highlighted the need to further expand our service in the future, with this in mind we have a specialist GP who works within the service.

This is a community service as Mersey Care does not have an inpatient unit to provide this treatment and therefore works closely with a neighbouring trust, Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS trust (CWP) as they have specialist commissioned inpatient beds.

Referrals are received from GP’s, other medical practitioners, psychologist and members of the Community Mental Health Teams. The service works closely with the persons GP who will continue to monitor their physical wellbeing.

When people are referred into our service their referral is triaged by a qualified member of staff and an initial assessment will be offered within 6 weeks of receiving the referral. Therapy is offered either individually or in a group setting and will be reviewed during the persons contact with our service.

The therapies offered include;

• Psychoeducation

• Motivational interviewing

• Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT),

• Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT),

• Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT)

• Systemic therapy

• Family therapy

And are matched individually and reviewed during the persons contact with the service.

The Trust recognizes that supporting relatives and carers is essential for their own wellbeing and the wellbeing of the person they care for and currently offer a monthly support group for carers.

If you would like to discuss this matter in more detail please contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS), 0800 328 2941, pals@merseycare.nhs.uk or

Kim Guy, Patient Experience


  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful