Eating Disorder FAQs

FAQs about Ellern Mede eating disorder services are helpful for typical enquiries. If you have more questions on what it is like to receive treatment with Ellern Mede or if you have a question related to our services please get in touch with us.

How do I make an NHS referral to Ellern Mede Ridgeway?

If you are an NHS patient seeing an NHS GP and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) team, this team will work with you to select an appropriate inpatient eating disorder service. If they choose Ellern Mede they will refer you to us. Our referral team will be able to guide you and your family through the process and give advice. We require an NHS referral form. If we do not have a place available you will have the option to remain on our waiting list; admissions are decided by urgency rather than waiting time.

How do I access Ellern Mede as a private patient?

Whilst we always recommend a GP referral, private patients can have direct access to our dedicated private eating disorders outpatient and inpatient services across four sites. We offer an initial consultation or assessment. Please email or call the centre to talk to our referral team. Our Outpatient Clinic in central London can accept patients of all ages.

We have specific programmes for children and young people and separate services for adult patients with eating disorders. Our referral team will offer further information including fees and payment methods, including receiving payment through private medical insurance. Call 0203 209 7900.

How are referrals assessed?

All referrals are reviewed by our consultant psychiatrists. Your first appointment will be a comprehensive assessment by a specialist eating disorders consultant psychiatrist. For young people under the age of 18, parents are required to attend the assessment. We offer an in-depth discussion about what services might be best for your needs. Once we accept your case or referral, a care plan can be agreed and a course of treatment arranged either on an outpatient or inpatient basis as suits your health needs and life circumstances.

What happens during an inpatient admission?

Prior to a planned inpatient admission, information is given to patients and in the case of children and young people under 18, information is also given to their parents. Within 24 hours of admission we notify the patient’s GP, commissioners, referrers and in the case of private patients, your medical insurance company and all relevant parties.

Each person who is considering having treatment in an Ellern Mede service is given a medical and psychiatric assessment. Following the assessment, a treatment and a care plan is agreed.

You will then be given a welcome pack, given a tour of the hospital and ward, be introduced to staff and other patients. Initially, it is common for most patients to be kept under close observation by staff for the purposes of physical monitoring and support.

What happens when I agree to outpatient care?

As an outpatient, you will meet your consultant psychiatrist and receive an initial assessment before agreeing to a treatment programme with the outpatient team. You will have a schedule of appointments and duration of care that best suit you and your family’s personal schedule and circumstances.

How long is a treatment programme?

We assess each person individually so length of treatment programme varies. Eating Disorders take time to respond to treatment whether in outpatient or inpatient care. Evidence indicates that in extreme cases it may take six months to a year or even longer to achieve a desired outcome.

What should my child bring to an inpatient admission at Ellern Mede Ridgeway or Barnet?

We recommend you pack comfortable seasonally appropriate clothing, books and a few personal items. It is best not to bring valuable items however we provide individual safes for storage. Prior to admission, we will give you a full list or if you are interested upon enquiry we can send you our patient information booklet. Please click here to refer to contraband list for items that are not allowed.

Can I visit and phone my child when they are an inpatient at Ellern Mede Ridgeway or Barnet?

We warmly encourage family participation in the eating disorder treatment programme and indeed we believe this is vital in the recovery process. We do everything we can to help you contact and visit your loved one in hospital. We also run some supportive programmes and therapies for parents and siblings. This is because we believe eating disorders have a significant impact on all family members and not only the sufferer.

To ensure visits go well, we do ask that all visits are agreed with the clinical team and are pre-arranged. This is so that appropriate room booking arrangements can be made. As you would understand, the hospital has a busy patient-centred routine. For this reason we ask that wherever possible visits comply with the following allotted visiting / contact times:

Weekdays – 6.30pm – 8.30pm

Weekends and bank holidays – 10am – 12 noon and 6.30pm to 8.30pm

The young people are given access to phones in the evenings and are able to receive or make calls during visiting time. Calls with family members may be specifically arranged at other times of the day if agreed as part of their care plan.

As soon as it is clinically possible within the recovery process young people spend time outside the hospital with their families.

What is the inpatient accommodation like at Ellern Mede Ridgeway and Ellern Mede Barnet?

In both Ellern Mede Ridgeway and Ellern Mede Barnet you will find a warm welcome, privacy, ample indoor and outdoor space for therapy, leisure activities, educational activities and personal time.

Our well known inpatient hospital Ellern Mede Ridgeway is set in beautiful landscaped grounds high on Mill Hill with views across the leafy suburbs of north west London. Patients at Ellern Mede Ridgeway attend the Ellern Mede School located in the hospital gardens.

Patient bedrooms overlook the grounds and the view. They are fully furnished, have space for personal belongings and a personal safe. We encourage patients to make their room homely and personalised. There are communal lounges and dining rooms on each ward, therapy and visitor rooms and a Netflix Room for evening films or activities. Most patients here prefer sharing two to each bedroom however we do have a number of single rooms and may be able to accommodate preferences such as access to quiet rooms and private space where required. Many bedrooms are ensuite but we also have several shower rooms, bathrooms and toilets on each of the wards.  We have full disability access across both hospital sites.

How often will I get reports on the progress of my child?

If your child is an inpatient at either Ellern Mede Ridgeway or Ellern Mede Barnet, you will receive weekly reports supplied by our Multidisciplinary Team (MDT). An important part of these reports include patient and family feedback. For all inpatients there are comprehensive CPA meetings to which professionals, the patient and family members are invited.  At this meeting we review care and make plans going forward for ongoing treatment and arrangements for discharge.

Additional meetings with the team or individual clinicians will be arranged if deemed clinically appropriate.

As a parent, will I get any input into my child’s treatment?

Evidence shows that parent and family input is very important to the recovery and treatment of young people with eating disorders. At Ellern Mede we believe the importance of this cannot be overestimated. The treatment programmes we offer involve parent participation to support the care plan.  Ellern Mede clinicians aim to support not only the patient but the whole family. We support the patients and parents in regaining control and a more positive quality of life.

Do you offer accommodation on site for relatives?

We do not have accommodation but there are local hotels and we may be able to offer advice. See links below:

Travelodge London Whetstone Hotel
1446 High Road
Whetstone, N20 9BS
Tel: 0871 984 6260

Premier Inn London Elstree/ Borehamwood
Warwick Road, Borehamwood,
Herts WD6 1US
T: 0871 527 8654

Is there any post discharge support?

It is recommended that all eating disorder cases require post discharge support. In many cases, it may be that following a child’s inpatient stay they will be discharged into the care of a community CAMHS specialist eating disorder team or a general CAMHS team combined with GP involvement. Ellern Mede Outpatient Services are available for consultation and post-discharge support when judged appropriate.

Post discharge support and care is extremely important following a spell of intensive eating disorder inpatient care for sustainable long term recovery in the community. This reintegration process begins while the young person is an inpatient with close liaison between inpatient and outpatient teams. The Ellern Mede team will liaise with all other relevant outside parties. The Ellern Mede School makes close links with home schools to advise on a graded reintroduction to studies.

In the inpatient setting, during a transitional period leading to discharge, the patient is given more regular and extended periods of home leave.


How can I make a complaint or give feedback?

We welcome and log all feedback, negative or positive and have a feedback form on wards and reception areas and a feedback box. We have a Complaints Procedure and our Feedback and Complaints Officer will be pleased to speak with you. If you have a concern in the first instance we recommend you notify the staff member in charge of the ward. If you wish to use the formal complaints process, please contact the centre manager, Nancy Maicoo.