"My Time at Denbridge"

About: South London And Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust / Eating disorders

(as the patient),

I have suffered with an eating disorder for over 20 years and after being at The Bethlem inpatient unit for two years at my very worst, I went to Denbridge House. I was there for nearly two years and it was the longest amount of time that I have stayed out of hospital. It was a struggle but the staff were there for me 24/7 and always free to talk and support me when I was having a hard time.

Even though I wasn't ready for recovery at that point, I am now out of hospital and managing to cope on the outside and I know that I wouldn't be where I am today without the help and experiences that I encountered at Denbridge House.

I am really sad and quite appalled that they are closing Denbridge House, places like that give hope to thousands of people both sufferers and carers alike and the government should be opening more places not closing the ones that are already there.

Please reconsider and think of how many people's lives are saved by such places. Eating Disoders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness and we need to do more to ensure we save lives.

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Response from South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust We are preparing to make a change

Dear Nessa,

Thank you for you feedback about Denbridge House rehabilitation unit.

The plan which has been developed over the last few months is to replace Denbridge with a 'step down' service on our inpatient unit at Bethlem Royal Hospital. One of the benefits of the service is that people will continue, once they have been discharged, to receive support from the staff they have come to know during their inpatient stay. There has been a great deal of service user involvement in developing this new model of care, and there will continue to be as the service is developed.

We expect people to use this new service for up to 6 months by which time we will have enabled them to return to life back in the community and make the necessary adjustments. The service is based on the latest research evidence and there has also been extensive service user involvement in developing it.

I appreciate that introducing changes to the way our services are provided can be unsettling, and I know that many people have valued the care and support they have recieved at Denbridge in the past. I can assure you the changes we are making to our eating disorder services will offer a model of care that is based in strong evidence, and should better enable patients with eating disorders to make the transition back to recovery and living in their local communities.

All the best for the future,

Steve Davidson

Service Director, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust