The First episode Rapid Early intervention for Eating Disorders (FREED) programme has achieved several successes, according to the final learning report, which has now been published.

These successes include increased access to early intervention for eating disorders, with 2,430 patients receiving FREED treatment, as well as an estimated cost savings to the NHS of £10.9 million.

FREED is an evidence-based service model to provide developmentally informed, person-centred early intervention for young people aged 16-25 within three years of developing an eating disorder.

Adolescence and early adulthood are unique in being the peak age for eating disorder onset, as well as a time of neurodevelopmental change and significant life changes. Research shows the earlier an eating disorder is addressed, the greater the likelihood of making a full recovery.

FREED was developed by South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London.

In 2020 the FREED model was selected by the AHSN Network as a national programme for spread and adoption due to the evidence for its effectiveness and scalability.

The programme ran until March 2023 and was successful in achieving:

  • Interest or adoption of FREED in all 54 eligible NHS Trusts.
  • Increased access to early intervention for eating disorders, with 2430 patients receiving FREED treatment.
  • Estimated cost savings to the NHS of £10.9 million.
  • Overwhelmingly positive feedback from FREED service users/carers, workforce and AHSN leads.

If you are concerned you or someone you know has an eating disorder speak to your GP, or you can find support and advice via organisations such as Beat Eating Disorders or Barnardo’s.

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