Northern Trust Shares its Expertise on Eating Disorders with Team from Dublin


The Northern Health and Social Care Trust has hosted a team from the Health and Safety Executive Dublin North to view its operating model for a community-based Eating Disorder Service and nursing developments.

The two-day programme provided by the Trust followed a talk given by Imelda McLeod, Clinical Services Manager for the Adult Eating Disorder Service to delegates at a national mental health nursing conference in Dublin in 2013.

The Northern Trust’s Adult Eating Disorder Service was established in 2007. Although based on the Holywell Hospital site, the team provides satellite clinics to treat people with moderate to severe eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia and covers an area stretching from Larne to Cookstown to Portstewart and including the greater Belfast area.

Commenting Imelda McLeod said: “We were delighted to welcome the representatives from HSE’s Office of the Nursing and Midwifery Services and to pass on our experience gained during both the setting up and ongoing delivery of our service. We emphasised the multi-disciplinary nature of our team which includes nurses, an occupational therapist, a social worker and a dietician. We also stressed the importance of sustained funding and collaborative working with GPs, specialist admissions units and psychiatric and medical wards.

“Establishing a voluntary support group, StampED (Stamp Out Eating Disorders) was an important part of our journey and it has provided invaluable support both to staff and relatives and those suffering or recovering from a severe eating disorder.”

The group from HSE included Eithne Cusack, Director of Nursing & Midwifery Planning & Development, Caroline Kavanagh, Nursing Resource Officer and other senior staff. During their fact-finding trip they met with a range of Trust staff who are involved with providing clinical and support services to those affected by eating disorders. They were impressed with the multidisciplinary model of care and were interested in the nursing aspect of care of children and adults with eating disorders and the integrated approach to service delivery.

Eithne Cusack said: “We saw at first hand the seamless and integrated care approach which is being delivered through the dedicated and professional specialist team who provide care in the community to adults that present with eating disorders in the Northern Trust. We were also impressed with the consultants and nursing staff who work within the endocrinology ward in Antrim Area Hospital and the Trust’s psychiatric admitting wards.

“The integration of the statutory and voluntary sectors was a good example of on-the-ground working and the collegiality and professionalism within these respective teams was very evident and clearly contributes in no small way to a seamless, well co-ordinated approach of care delivery across the age and care spectrum.

“I would like to take the opportunity to thank Imelda and all of her multi-disciplinary colleagues for the hospitality and support shown to us and for their generosity in sharing their time and resources with us. It was very much appreciated and we look forward to continuing this liaison with them in the future.”