Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust (OHFT) has responded to our report on FREED – First Episode Rapid Early Intervention for Eating Disorders.

FREED is a service for 16-25 year olds who have had an eating disorder for three years or less. We published our report on how to engage young people with the service earlier this month.

What we did

We wanted to gather views from young people, especially those from communities we tend to hear from less, so we ran a series of five focus groups during December 2022 and January 2023.

The views that we heard were not from FREED service users. The people we spoke to had never heard of FREED.

Our recommendations

Based on what we found out, we made a range of recommendations to OHFT.

These included:

  • Suggestions for improving awareness of FREED
  • Ideas for promoting it more effectively
  • Recommendations for creating engaging communications materials and messaging.

OHFT’s response

In OHFT’s response to Healthwatch Bucks, Andy Fitton, Head of Buckinghamshire CAMHS and Eating Disorder Services, said:

FREED is a new and quickly developing service in Buckinghamshire, launched here in 2022. We are excited about its potential and welcome your report on engaging young people. Thank you for your recommendations, which will influence the growth and delivery of FREED going forward.

After reviewing our report, OHFT has committed to taking the following action before the end of 2023:

  • We will include information about FREED on our website. We will also explore using other digital platforms to promote the service.
  • We will update FREED’s promotional materials in line with the recommendations made by Healthwatch Bucks.
  • We will continue our work on establishing a ‘lived experience’ advisory group for the Buckinghamshire Adult Eating Disorder service. This group will help to support the development of FREED by providing personal perspectives on eating disorder support.
  • We will continue our work on maximising engagement with Buckinghamshire GPs. This includes face to face training on FREED, as well as the sharing of information.

In addition, OHFT has said it would like to achieve the following in 2024:

  • Provide an option for young people to self-refer to the FREED service. Alongside this, we will continue to develop The Gateway – a single hub through which people with mental health concerns can access help and support.
  • Improve access to FREED by developing partnerships with relevant youth organisations and colleges of further education.

We’d like to thank OHFT for its timely response to our report.


OHFT’s response to Early intervention for eating disorders

Published on 18 May, 2023

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