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Molly McLaren Foundation calls for specialist help for eating disorders in Kent

ByKentOnline reporter

A charity which supports people with eating disorders has responded to comments that Kent is unlikely to receive a a specialist unit.

The Trust which operates services for eating disorder sufferers of all ages across the county addressed Medway Councillors who had requested a specialist unit to be implemented in Medway.

North East London NHS Foundation Trust admitted it was unlikely their request for a unit will be met with a positive response.

Caption: Amy Lee has set up a foundation in memory of her best friend Molly who was killed earlier this year.
Caption: Amy Lee has set up a foundation in memory of her best friend Molly who was killed earlier this year.

Patients – both adults and children – currently have to travel as far as Brighton for specialist beds, while "non-complex" disorders are dealt with in Staplehurst.

Director of operations Brid Johnson told the councillors: “I couldn’t sit here and say that we’ll be able to afford really specialist beds in small areas.

“The complexity of need of young people who end up in those beds requires such a wide range of service provision that it becomes more affordable when it covers (a larger area).

“You would only need a small number of beds for this area, so we’ll do our very best to get as close to you as possible.

Amy Lee, Molly McLaren's best friend and Trustee of the Molly McLaren Foundation, said: “It is saddening to read that the option of an eating disorder unit is unlikely to be set in Kent, unfortunately the lack of services and support in the area is not new information and fighting an eating disorder is a tall order in itself without the added stress and pressure of travel."

The charity was set up in memory of Molly McLaren, from Cobham, who was murdered by her boyfriend in 2017.

The 23-year-old was a championed those suffering from eating disorders by setting up a blog.

"Unfortunately the lack of services and support in the area is not new information..." Amy Lee

Amy said: "The Molly McLaren Foundation is committed to bridging the gap between GP and self referral through funding private specialist counselling provided by a charity we have partnered up with called Re-Write Your Story who focus on early intervention.

"We have also recently partnered with Beat, one of the UK’s largest eating disorder charities, on a project called Beat on the Ground.

"We have funded training in schools to educate teachers about how to spot the first signs of eating disorders and how to support young adults with next steps.

"The project also includes funding for active communication with local GPs to prepare them for the potential increase in people looking for help and support so they can be identified earlier and hopefully receive support faster."

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