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Welcome to CONNECT. Read below to discover who we are and how we can support you.
Who we are
We are a specialist Adult Eating Disorder Service, within LYPFT (Leeds and York Partnership Foundation Trust), working across West Yorkshire (Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield). We have a community and an inpatient structure in our service. Click on the tabs to discover more about who we are, what support we can offer and how to send a request.
Who is this service for?
We provide early intervention, community and inpatient treatment for adults (people aged 18 and over) with eating disorders (anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa), from across West Yorkshire.
What does the service look like?
We offer a multidisciplinary team approach to help people affected by eating disorders. Our teams consist of doctors, psychologists, therapists, nurses, dietitians, occupational therapists, health support workers, peer support workers and administration staff.
The CONNECT Community and Enrichment Pathway Service
This team provides community treatment for patients with moderate to severe anorexia nervosa and severe bulimia nervosa.
The team also accept referrals for mild anorexia nervosa and mild/moderate bulimia nervosa for early intervention cases (those under the age of 25 who have an eating disorder of less than three years duration) and offer treatment for individuals with atypical eating disorders if they are pregnant or have type 1 diabetes mellitus.
The CONNECT Inpatient Service (formerly YCED – The Yorkshire Centre for Eating Disorders)
This is our specialist eating disorders inpatient unit based at the Newsam Centre in Leeds. The inpatient unit has 14 beds and treats around 35 people a year, offering a number of different treatment programmes tailored to individual needs.
The inpatient unit works closely with the CONNECT Community staff, as well as other community teams outside of West Yorkshire, to keep hospital stays to a minimum and make sure that the necessary care and support is in place in the community after discharge from the inpatient unit.
In March 2023 the inpatient unit retained its accreditation to the Quality Network for Eating Disorders (QED), a national quality mark from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, which outlines that:
- We provide a safe environment for staff and patients,
- Our staff demonstrate compassion, dignity and respect,
- Patients are offered excellent quality treatment based on national best practice.
What to expect?
Individuals accepted to the service will be offered a comprehensive biopsychosocial assessment by an experienced member of the assessment team and the service will endeavour to offer an assessment within one to four weeks for ‘urgent’ referrals and within eight weeks for ‘routine’ referrals.
Referrals are deemed urgent if:
- Inpatient treatment is indicated (one week target)
- The individual meets First Episode Rapid Early Intervention for Eating Disorders (FREED) criteria
- The individual has high levels of physical risk
- The individual is pregnant (four week target)
- The individual has type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (four week target)
Individuals who require inpatient admission will be offered an inpatient assessment over a four week period on ward 6 at the Yorkshire Centre for Eating Disorders in Leeds. Prior to admission, the service user will be offered a preparatory visit where they will have the opportunity to view the ward, meet other service users currently engaged in treatment and discuss the different inpatient treatment programmes with the Team.
CONNECT offers an integrated stepped care approach to treatment based on diagnosis, formulation, risk, and service user needs which are in line with NICE (2017) MEED (2022) and RCPsych (2017) guidelines. The CONNECT stepped care treatment model includes outpatient treatment, early intervention, intensive home-based treatment, Enrichment Pathway Service (for severe enduring eating disorders), and inpatient treatment. In addition to this CONNECT offers a tier 1 level advice and consultation service and service user and carer support groups through partnership working with primary care, acute providers, community mental health teams, Liaison Psychiatry services and third sector organisations.
Most individuals will be offered one of our therapy groups, alongside a dietetic assessment and input from other members of the Team as indicated. The groups that we offer include:
- MANTRA (The Maudsley Model of Treatment for Adults with Anorexia)
- CBT-ED (Eating disorder focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)
Other psychological therapies may be considered based on an individual’s needs.
In most cases, individuals will be discharged from CONNECT to their local community mental health team or to their GP with post discharge support available through the CONNECT tier 1 advice and consultation service if required.
Referrals and Admission
Our team welcomes enquiries from service users and family and carers about self-referrals, but referrals can only be made by an appropriate healthcare professional.
Please be aware that CONNECT need to be in receipt of bloods and electrocardiogram (ECG) from the past four weeks to accompany referrals. Referrals will not be processed without these up-to-date investigations attached and will be returned to referrer.
All individuals will require a screening assessment of physical risk before their referral can be considered. This screening assessment should include a minimum of:
- body mass index (BMI) (weight/height2)
- blood investigations (full blood count, urea and electrolytes, phosphate, magnesium, glucose, creatine kinase, liver function tests)
- examination of blood pressure (erect and supine), pulse and core temperature
- an electrocardiogram (ECG)
If the referral is accepted it will be passed onto the appropriate CONNECT referrals team for further discussion. Each team has a weekly referrals meeting where referrals are discussed and allocated for assessment and treatment. The referrals teams aim to provide the referrer with a referral decision within 5 working days from receipt of the completed referral form.
It is also important to note that in the clinical information section, where the form asks for information on bingeing, purging, laxative misuse and over-exercising, the frequency of these behaviours must be complete, or the referral will not be accepted.
To make a referral:
- Referral form 2023
- Referral form changes – cover note
- Send completed copies by email to CONNECT referrals
At present, the CONNECT service has temporarily suspended accepting all requests for second opinion assessments due to the current clinical demands arising within the service. It is regretful that we are not able to undertake such clinical work at this time. We will endeavour to resume such activity as soon as possible.
CONNECT accepts referrals for individuals who:
- Are 18 years of age or above. The service will consider referrals for individuals who are 17 years of age if they meet Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) transition criteria.
- Have a suspected diagnosis of moderate/severe Anorexia Nervosa, i.e. core psychopathology and BMI<17kg/m². The service also accepts referrals for adults with mild Anorexia Nervosa (core psychopathology and BMI 17-18.5 kg/m²) if they meet FREED (First episode and rapid early intervention for eating disorders) criteria, i.e. less than 3 years duration of illness, age 18-25.
- Have a suspected diagnosis of severe Bulimia Nervosa, i.e. core psychopathology with bingeing AND DAILY purging/compensatory behaviours (e.g. self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives/diuretics/insulin or other medication, excessive exercise) occurring at least 7 x per week, i.e. on a DAILY basis.
- The service also accepts referrals for adults with mild/moderate Bulimia Nervosa (core psychopathology and weekly bingeing AND purging) if they meet FREED (First episode and rapid early intervention for eating disorders) criteria, i.e. less than 3 years duration of illness, age 18-25.
- Have a suspected atypical eating disorder and they are pregnant, have type 1 Diabetes Mellitus or Hyperthyroidism.
Outpatient treatment for service users accessing the FREED service is the same as for those accessing the standard outpatient treatment pathway however, assessment and treatment is streamlined as follows:
- the service makes initial contact with the service user by phone or email within 48 hours of receiving the completed referral form to explore the person’s views on treatment and to arrange an initial assessment
- they offer of an initial assessment within two-four weeks following the initial contact
- commencement of evidence-based treatment within two-four weeks following assessment
- separate FREED therapy groups (MANTRA and CBT-ED)
CONNECT provides a CAMHS transition service for individuals less than 18 years of age who are accessing CAMHS services. We can offer an initial assessment 6 months prior to the individual’s 18th birthday with a 6-month transition support period to facilitate safe and effective transition between services. Referrals for CAMHS transition service users should be made prior to the individual turning 17 ½ to ensure that an effective transition period is achieved. Outside of this timeframe, referrals will be processed as normal at around the time that the individual turns 18.
CONNECT does not accept referrals for individuals who have a current history of psychosis or any other psychiatric or physical health disorder which requires treatment before their eating disorder can be addressed. Connect requires a period of 3 months of abstinence following the misuse of/dependency on illicit substances and/or alcohol.
CONNECT accepts direct referrals from GPs and all other health professionals from the West Yorkshire region. Having an allocated care coordinator from secondary mental health services within West Yorkshire is not required to access the CONNECT service.
All enquiries should be made by email to CONNECT enquiries. The service aims to provide a response within 5 working days. If a more urgent response is required, then the enquirer will be advised to make a formal referral.
You can download a copy of the information for staff and partners leaflet for more details on the service.
Abbie speaks openly about the moment she realised she needed extra support. She shares her experiences of the CONNECT service and how her feelings on group therapy changed during her time there.
Abbie says: “Looking back, I can understand why I was scared [about group therapy] but having now been through it, it’s really not scary at all. The people you meet are really nice. You almost have to feel the fear and do it anyway!”
Nicola – a carer’s story
An eating disorder doesn’t just affect those diagnosed. It can be felt far more widely and seeing a loved one battle an eating disorder can be particularly hard for families. Nicola is Abbie’s sister. In the following film, she looks at things from a sibling’s perspective and explains how receiving family therapy at CONNECT helped.