Unit for eating disorders is an example to all, says CQC

By Agnes Rose

Orri, an independent specialist eating disorder service in Central London, has won an outstanding rating from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following its very first inspection.  

It went down so well with the inspectors that the watchdog’s head of hospital inspection praised it as ‘an excellent example to other providers who should look to learn from this report’. 

Helen Rawlings said: ‘People’s needs were central to everything the staff and management did, which has resulted in an outstanding service.’ 

The service provides eating disorder day treatment to adults through face-to-face and online therapies. 

Inspectors rated it outstanding for being safe, caring, effective, well-led and responsive to people’s needs. Ms Rawlings was pleased to see the excellent quality of care being delivered by Orri, especially against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

‘It has ensured patient safety throughout, and continued to deliver the support its clients need, aided by an effective online treatment programme,’ she said.

‘Orri was delivering an exceptional experience to people who used this service as well as their families, during an extremely challenging time in people’s lives.’  

Inspectors found a strong community ethos throughout the service, creating an environment of mutual support.  

They were particularly impressed that people who had completed their recovery kept in touch with the service and returned to deliver supportive and motivational groups to new clients.  

The watchdog also welcomed the service’s strong social media presence, which gave those accessing treatment the opportunity to share their experiences safely through closely monitored blogs and online interactions, as well as enabling them to keep in touch with the service and receive regular motivation when it was closed.

The great brains behind the idea

Kerrie Jones

Orri was founded in 2018 by chief executive Kerrie Jones, a leading psychotherapist in the eating disorder sector. 

Working alongside clients with eating disorders for almost 20 years, she recognised there was a need for a treatment that provided not only expert support in managing the physical and behavioural complexities which come with eating problems, but also a profound need for a space where clients can choose to explore the underlying difficulties and causes in depth for a long-term and sustainable recovery.

Traditionally, there has been a heavy reliance on outpatient and inpatient treatment models, leading to a gap in eating disorder treatment pathways. 

Orri’s specialist day treatment is a solution to this gap, offering care in the community that treats all aspects of the eating disorder, not just the symptoms.

At the heart of Orri is the belief that recovery is possible for all. The team – comprising experts in psychiatry, psychology, nursing, psychotherapy, occupational therapy and dietetics – works collaboratively with clients and partners to provide expert, evidence-based treatment with compassion at its core. 

Ms Jones told Independent Practitioner Today: ‘The whole team at Orri feels immensely proud of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection report, not just for the ratings but for the incredibly positive comments made by the inspectors, our clients, team members and carers. 

‘The rating, alongside our third birthday, marks a key milestone for Orri. We have worked incredibly hard to demonstrate that our intensive day treatment programme and stepped approach offers an effective and compassionate alternative to traditional models. 

‘We have seen a sharp rise in eating disorders since the pandemic, and hope that Orri can help many more clients over the coming years.’

Prof Paul Robinson

Prof Paul Robinson, consultant psychiatrist and Orri’s director of research and development, said: ‘Having been associated with Orri from the outset, I was delighted to read this very positive report from the CQC.

‘I have long been convinced that most patients with severe eating disorders do not require admission to inpatient care, and that for those who are admitted, some could have avoided admission with intensive community care and some, perhaps most, could be discharged early, when medically stable, to such care. 

 ‘That was the basis for the service I developed at the Royal Free Hospital in the 1990s and I was so pleased when Kerrie invited me to be part of the Orri project in 2018. 

‘The idea that one can treat people with severe eating disorders in day care has been supported by [the charity] BEAT and NICE, but unfortunately not taken up universally, for reasons that escape me. Thankfully, Orri has now shown that it can be done effectively and safely.’