Owners of Chimneys specialist eating disorder clinic, in Rougham, continue to fight for NHS England contract
The owners of an eating disorder clinic in Rougham say they are ‘running on empty’ with no end in sight, after its beds remained unfilled for seven months.
The £2.5 million Chimneys Healthcare Partnership opened in March offering specialist facilities for adults, but as it has not yet secured an NHS England contract it has had no patients.
The situation means patients needing specialist treatment are sent to facilities in Chelmsford, south west London, Coventry or Scotland, despite the new beds being available closer to home.
Chris McKenna, consultant clinical psychologist, set up the 12-bed clinic with his wife Jackie, following their daughter’s anorexia battle.
“All we’re trying to do as a family is make a difference. We have committed our time and resources to delivering a fantastic clinic and all we have asked is that NHS England uses it. This situation is heartbreaking for patients and families and we are running on empty in terms of our funding,” he said.
“The most dispiriting thing is NHS England does not seem to be moved by the personal stories of real people who haven’t been able to come to the Chimneys. But we will continue to keep going for as long as we can.”
While the clinic was fully staffed when it opened, they had since been let go due to lack of patients.
“Even if we got commissioned right now we would have to recruit again. It’s devastating,” he added.
NHS England was asked to comment.