Referral Process

Who can refer?

Sometimes people are reluctant to talk to people about their eating problems because they feel their problem is not serious enough, and they may be concerned about wasting peoples' time. They may also feel ashamed of, or embarrassed about sharing their struggles for fear of being judged. EDS is available to discuss and clarify any concerns individuals may have and explore if a referral to our service is appropriate.

EDS community service accepts self-referrals or from a professional involved with the clients. We also accept NHS referrals. 

What happens at the point of referral?

The problems of an eating disorder are often complex. EDS is therefore available to discuss and clarify any concerns professionals may have before deciding if a referral is appropriate. 

EDS do not accept referrals from family/friends. For professional who wish to refer someone via email, please contact EDS for secure email information before sending the information. Referrals can also be made via post, phone or fax if this is preferable.

In order to avoid delays in the referral process, it is important to provide EDS with as much background information as possible e.g., eating habits, physical health status and mental health or other past history that may be relevant.

If it is appropriate for EDS to proceed with the referral, all professionals involved would be provided with a report letter highlighting the result/recommendation of the assessment.

EDS community service accepts self-referrals from individuals suffering with mild or moderate symptoms of an eating disorder.

Potential clients can make initial contact with the service via phone, post or email. In response, we will get in touch, usually by phone to obtain more background information about their eating problems.

After initial triage, initial assessment forms would be sent either via email link (or post for those who do not have internet access).These provide EDS with additional information regarding the eating difficulties prior to the assessment. Forms must be completed and returned before assessment appointment can be scheduled.

Please contact EDS if there are problems completing these forms.

The Assessment

After arranging an assessment appointment, a confirmation letter will be sent to the client. 

The assessment meeting will normally be in person with one of our therapists and takes approximately 2 hours. When the client arrives at the appointment, they will be asked to complete some additional information sheets which will help us with the assessment.

During the meeting, it is common for people to feel anxious about sharing and discussing their struggles, however, this is an opportunity to share any concerns and help to understand the situation. This enable EDS to decide the best possible support package for the individual.

Following the assessment meeting, the EDS team will discuss the person’s situation at our post-assessment meeting.

Once a decision is made regarding the nature of help, a letter confirming these details will be sent to the client. There is generally a wait before any therapy commences but it is acceptable for the clients to contact the office if they are unsure of the waiting time.

We will also write to inform the GP of our plan as they are responsible for the clients’ medical care when individuals are living at home. We will also be writing to any other health care professionals who may be involved to confirm our involvement.


The EDS Day Service Programme provides more intensive community-based support for a smaller number of people with more severe problems with anorexia nervosa.

Our goal is to help clients develop a balance between weight restoration and normalised eating and encourage flexibility in the process of recovery and improvement. We focus on creating a life outside the eating disorder and reducing the power and dysfunction that the disorder maintains.

Therapy at EDS consists of one-hour weekly individual sessions, where clients and their therapists can explore issues, thoughts, feelings, life events or patterns of behaviours that have caused difficulties in their life.

Therapists will  facilitate  exploration of these areas and help find ways to resolve these difficulties, or support them to seek alternative more constructive forms of coping.

To maximise the benefit of this form of input, clients’ commitment to regular weekly attendance and willingness to make changes (no matter how small these may be) are the key to a positive outcome.

It is important to be realistic and not too ambitious by expecting improvements immediately. It takes time to make and stay with the changes which is can often be painful and challenging.

EDS group therapy facilitated by one or two therapists, involves a small number of clients meeting on a weekly basis to talk, interact and support each other and learn about specific issues around eating disorders.

Group therapy aims to create a safe and comfortable environment for the individuals to work on specific issues. They may gain insight into their difficulties and offer support and suggestions to the other members.

Group therapy is not for everyone and is only offered after careful consideration, balancing the clients’ needs and the benefits from this type of input.

Understanding eating disorders

EDS offers a range of therapies recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for those with an eating disorder. Every person is unique, and the package offered will be carefully discussed and considered by the team and may vary according to the clients’ needs and circumstances. This may involve a combination of individual, group therapy and specialist dietetic input.

In addition to psychotherapeutic input, our ED support worker can help clients to explore, plan and rebuild a life outside of their eating disorder, often towards the latter part of their individual input.