"Denbridge House - Closure"

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

(as the patient),

Finding out that Denbridge House is closing due to cut-backs within the NHS is devastating for me.

Knowing sufferers of eating disorders are not going to have access to the amazing, one of a kind service that I was lucky enough to have through Denbridge House is diabolical.

Denbridge House is not one of a kind because it is a luxury that is not worth the cost, but because eating disorders are still so misunderstood that the NHS doesn’t seem to me to realise the worth of investing in such treatment.

Denbridge House saved my life and the government are preventing so many lives being saved going forward with its closure. Rehab turned my life around, there are no two ways of looking at it, without rehab I would not be here now, and most certainly wouldn't be married & looking forward to the future with my new husband!

The most life-changing step in my rehab treatment was most definitely Denbridge House, I spent 19 months there & that was the most beneficial 19 months by far. Within that time I was able to work on increasing my weight to be slightly healthier than when I joined, my attitude to food completely changed as I began to view it as something to be enjoyed not scared of. Most of all I was able to explore the emotions that had caused me to become ill in the first place.

Having the safety & support at Denbridge to allow myself to feel devastating emotions meant I could learn from past experiences & develop ways of coping with difficult situations & day to day life in the future. Each new coping strategy I learned took time to trust, I had to test it out to really believe it would be a different way of living that would work. I couldn't have done these things whilst living in the environment in which I became ill.

Denbridge gave me a space to learn, develop & grow as a person in order to live life to the full afterwards. I gained skills I will use for the rest of my life at Denbridge & am confident it is these skills that will enable me to live a healthy life without the requirement for another hospital / rehab admission.

I view rehab as the first step in my recovery. Rehab is like the foundations of a house, you can't scrimp on them because you'll have to start again from scratch, in the same way, rehab needs to be fully embraced & completed properly in order to be effective & have the desired outcome.

I hope that someone reads this who can actually over-ride this decision which I think is awful and actually invest in Denbridge rather than take away this much needed service.

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››


Response from Su Glazier, Head of Improvement, Innovations and Involvement, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust We are preparing to make a change

Dear Esther,

Thank you very much for taking the time to share with us your concerns about the decision to close Denbridge House and replace it with another rehabilitation and treatment facility for people with eating disorders (a few miles away). Your story is inspiring and encouraging to other users of eating disorder services as you have used the treatment offered at Denbridge House to make great progress. For you, hearing that Denbridge House is closing understandably arouses strong feelings. Your story has been passed to the service concerned and they will make a fuller response to you very shortly.

Best wishes,


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Update posted by Esther (the patient)

Thank you for responding to my concerns over the closure of Denbridge House.

I would be very interested in hearing what the replacement rehabilitation and treatment facility is that you refer to. I met with the current residents of Denbridge House this week and they were not aware of any replacement facility, rather they are meeting with their CPA teams to try to find out what support they can have access to with such a short amount of time to plan / prepare.

I would also like to know why the closure has been disclosed so close to the date! Surely when dealing with mental health SLAM realise time is of utmost importance for patients?! I personally am very disappointed with how this situation has been handled.

Look forward to hearing your further feedback.

Kind Regards

Response from Steve Davidson, Service Director, Mood, Anxiety and Personality Clinical Academic Group and Psychological Medicine Clinical Academic Group, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust We are preparing to make a change

Dear Esther

Thank you for raising your concern about the closure of Denbridge House and for sharing your experiences with us. I am really pleased that you have benefited from your time in this service.

I understand your concerns and thought an explanation of our reasons for closing Denbridge House might help to reassure you that we have come to this decision for the best of reasons. I also think it is important that you know about our plans to replace the service with a new rehabilitation treatment service in Beckenham.

As I am sure you know, without effective early treatment for anorexia nervosa, such as the work with families developed at the Maudsley Hospital, a proportion of people go on to develop a severe and enduring illness. This group of people and their families can become isolated and excluded from a productive role in society with a high level of medical disability and use of services.

For this reason we are opening a new service that will see patients and families requiring rehabilitation ‘stepped down’ gradually so they spend fewer days in care and are better able to live independently, build strong relationships and play an active role in society. This approach to the treatment of anorexia nervosa has been shown to be very effective and has been developed using the best available evidence. The service has also been developed by working closely with patients and families with experience of anorexia nervosa and with the charity BEAT.

To fund the new service we have taken the difficult decision to close Denbridge House. Robust alternative arrangements will be in place before the few remaining patients leave Denbridge House and the expertise of the current staff team will be transferred to the new service.

Now more than ever, we have to make the best use of the resources available to us. However, we remain committed to providing treatments that evidence shows work best for our patients.

If you would like to learn more about the treatment model to be used in the new rehabilitation treatment service please please contact Jane Hannon at (jane.hannon@slam.nhs.uk) and Jane will send you more information and you can have further discussion with her if necessary.

Best Wishes

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