Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders expert speaks at cross border workshop
Health professionals and voluntary organisation representatives from
across the border counties attended a 2-day cross border workshop in
Omagh, Co. Tyrone to learn about the latest techniques in the
treatment of eating disorders. The workshop was organised by the
Co-operation and Working Together’s (CAWT) cross border eating
disorders project with funding from the European Union’s INTERREG IVA
programme. The workshop was led by Professor Christopher Fairburn from
the University of Oxford who is renowned for his work in developing
and evaluating new treatments for eating disorders.

Commenting on the workshop, Margaret Caulfield from the Mental Health
Services in the HSE’s Cavan / Monaghan area said: “We are delighted to
have been able to facilitate this prestigious workshop in the border
region. Through the CAWT cross border eating disorders project we have
created 12 new eating disorder therapists posts to cover the entire
border region, with 3 of these posts covering the HSE Dublin North
East counties of Cavan, Monaghan and Louth. We want to ensure that our
eating disorder services are as effective as possible for our patients
and this specialist workshop has enabled our staff to learn about the
latest techniques and methods in treating what is a often a very
difficult and complex condition.”

In this two-day workshop Professor Fairburn explained a new approach
to the treatment of the full range of eating disorders seen in
clinical practice including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and
other less common eating disorders. His approach involves the use of
enhanced cognitive behaviour therapy and addressing patients’ concerns
about shape and weight.  Other topics addressed at the workshop
included engaging with patients who have eating disorders, dealing
with binge eating and purging, and helping underweight patients regain
weight.  Newer methods for tackling areas such as self-esteem and
relationship difficulties were also outlined.


Recently appointed eating disorder therapists for the Louth area,
Debbie Proctor (left) and for the Cavan area, Nuala Miles. Both
therapists attended the CAWT cross border eating disorders workshop
led by Prof. Christopher Fairburn, University of Oxford

Rosaleen Harlin
HSE Area Communications Manager
Dublin North East

Tel: 046 9280563/ 087 8291416

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)
guidelines (2004) on Eating Disorders report that between 1 and 2% of
the population suffers from either anorexia nervosa or bulimia
nervosa. Figures for binge eating are much higher. The figures however
are likely to be under-reported due to the secretive nature of the
illness and the shame and guilt often associated with having an eating
The CAWT Eating Disorders project is 3 years in duration and is
part of CAWT’s ‘Putting Patients, Clients and Families First’
initiative funded by the European Union’s INTERREG IVA programme.
Co-operation and Working Together (CAWT) is a cross border health
and social care partnership comprising the border counties of the
Health Service Executive in the Republic of Ireland and the Southern
and Western Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland. The
Health and Social Care Board and the Public Health Agency in Northern
Ireland are also partners. CAWT is managing a range of cross border
health and social care programmes, part financed by the European
Union’s European Regional Development Fund through the INTERREG IVA
cross-border Programme managed by the Special EU Programmes Body.
The European Union’s INTERREG IVA programme is designed to support
cross border co-operation, social cohesion and economic development
between regions of the EU. The Northern Ireland/Ireland programme is
managed by the Special EU Programmes Body and covers all of Northern
Ireland, the Border Region of Ireland and Western Scotland. It aims to
address the economic and social disadvantage that can result from the
existence of a border.