A new Health Integration Team (HIT), focused on improving care and quality of life for people with eating disorders and enhancing prevention, has been given the green light by the Bristol Health Partners executive group. The team, called People with Eating Disorders HIT, or EDHIT for short, will be led by Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Hugh Herzig and Dr Helen Malson, Associate Professor of Social Psychology at the University of the West of England’s Centre for Appearance Research.
Eating disorders have some of the highest levels of morbidity and mortality associated with any mental health problem, but they do not attract widespread public attention and tend not to be prioritised by service providers as among the severe and enduring mental illnesses. Eating disorders afflict people of all ages but are a particular problem among young and potentially productive members of society, often enduring for years with substantial associated health and social care costs.
The team will focus on both prevention and treatment for people with eating disorders, and will work across four themes of collaboration across agency boundaries, transitions between services, research and evidence based practice, and patient and public involvement.
EDHIT Co-Director Helen Malson said:
“It is wonderful that the team has been given the go ahead. Eating disorders are a devastating and often long-lasting problem in the lives of many people, and we hope that our work will have a positive impact through improving the care they receive and through helping to prevent such problems developing. The world of eating disorders can be fragmented in so many ways – across age ranges, across community, hospital, medical and mental health services, across locations as young people move away from the family home, and across the potentially conflicting attitudes and motivations of patients, families, health professionals and researchers. The HIT framework is perfectly suited to eating disorders, at the heart of which lies the need for shared thinking and wide collaboration. The early enthusiasm of patients and public, researchers and professionals over the last year as we have prepared this HIT application is a strong endorsement of the need for EDHIT to exist.”
Bristol Health Partners Director David Relph said:
“I’m delighted to welcome Helen, Hugh and the rest of the EDHIT team to the Bristol Health Partners fold. The executive group panel were very impressed with the strength of their proposal and they unanimously agreed to endorse the group as a Bristol Health Partners HIT. Many congratulations to the team, and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them for producing such an exciting proposal: the panel were delighted to see the energy with which they embrace the Bristol Health Partners concept. I am looking forward to working together.”