Assessment Appointments

The aim of your assessment is to understand the difficulties that you are facing within the context of your wider life experiences and to work together with you to agree a treatment plan that meets your needs. Once your referral has been received and processed by our triage team, we will contact you by telephone to invite you to book an assessment appointments. If we are unable to speak with you, we will send you a letter with an appointment. You will then need to contact us to confirm your attendance, no later than the deadline provided in your letter. 

When will I be seen?

NCEDS aims to meet with you as soon as possible following your referral and will offer you the first available assessment appointment. This will usually be within 4 – 28 days. If you are unable to make the appointment offered to you, you can re-arrange another date that is more convenient to you.

Assessment appointments are held at specific times and on different days of the week. If you do need to reschedule your appointment, due to high demand, it may not always be possible to offer the slot which would be your first preference. It is also not possible to reschedule more than twice, so please ensure that you opt for a date and time that is convenient for you.

What if I don’t want to be seen?

Sometimes people are referred to our service before they want or feel ready to receive treatment for their eating disorder. If this is not the right time for you and you do not wish to be seen by our service at the moment, we would still ask you to call us as soon as possible to let us know you do not want the appointment so that it can be offered to someone else. Your decision to cancel your appointment will not affect any treatment you might receive from us in the future and you can be re-referred at any time when you feel more ready.

What should I expect?

You will be met by an NCEDS clinician who is experienced in asking about food, eating, weight and body shape concerns. Your appointment will usually last up to 90 minutes.

Can I bring anyone with me?

Yes. You are welcome to bring a friend, relative or carer along to your appointment. They will be asked to wait in our waiting room whilst we meet with you. If you would like them to also be involved in your assessment, you can ask that they are invited to join you towards the end of your meeting.

Please note that children are not allowed to attend the appointment with you and there are no childcare facilities available at The Springs. If you have recently had a baby and have any special requirements, please call us before your appointment to discuss. 

What will I be asked?

During the appointment, you will be asked about any worries or concerns you may have about your eating, weight and shape. In order for us to be able to best understand your difficulties, this will include a description of what you are eating and how you feel about your weight and physical appearance. In order to help understand how and why your problems may have developed, you will also be asked about your personal and family background as well as your physical health and any medications that you may be taking. Towards the end of your appointment, your clinician will also ask you whether you would like to make any changes and if you have any ideas about what you might find helpful.  

You will have been sent some questionnaires which also ask about your eating, how you feel about your weight and shape as well as your mood. Please complete these and bring them to your assessment appointment to give to your clinician. They will help us to understand your difficulties more fully.   

Will I be weighed during the assessment?

Yes, you will be weighed as part of your assessment. This is so that we can gain an accurate picture of your difficulties and any physical risks that we may need to think about with you.

What will happen after my assessment?

Your clinician will arrange to meet with you again a week after your initial assessment appointment. Sometimes we may need more information around your eating, so you may be asked to complete some food diaries before your second appointment. Before you meet with your clinician again, they will meet with the rest of the NCEDS team in order to discuss the best way to support you. This may mean offering you treatment with our service and/or referring you to other services that might be more appropriate for your difficulties (see below).

The second appointment is your opportunity to discuss the outcome of your assessment with your clinician. It will be shorter than your first appointment and usually lasts for 30 minutes. This discussion allows us to develop a treatment plan to meet your needs, so you leave the appointment knowing what the next step will be. During this appointment, you may be given a diagnosis and your clinician will discuss the team’s recommendations with you. Together, you may make a plan for treatment / further help if necessary with you.

Following your assessment feedback appointment, we will summarise our discussions and plan in a letter. A copy of this letter will also be sent to those involved in your care (e.g. your GP), with your consent. If psychological treatment is recommended, you will be placed on the waiting list and will be allocated to one of our therapists as soon as one becomes available.

Will I be offered treatment?

Decisions regarding treatment are based upon an understanding of your problems gained during your assessment and whether NCEDS is the most appropriate service for your difficulties. In the event that the team decide that we are the most appropriate service to help with your difficulties, your clinician will work with you towards agreeing a treatment plan. They can give you details about when you might expect to be contacted about starting treatment. It is important that we have your correct contact details so that we can call or email you to offer you the next available treatment slot.  

It may be that you do not feel ready to take up the team’s recommendations for treatment for your eating disorder. If so, your clinician will talk to you about ways in which you can keep yourself safe until you do feel ready to make changes and you will then be discharged from our service.

Alternatively, the team may feel that NCEDS is not the most appropriate service for your difficulties and that you may benefit from receiving help from a different service instead. If so, your clinician will discuss the options with you and together agree a plan to ensure you access help from the most appropriate services. You will then be discharged from our service. 

Who else needs to know?

Your clinician will discuss issues of confidentiality and consent during your first appointment. Following your assessment, your clinician will write you a personal letter summarising your meeting including any treatment plans that have been agreed. With your consent, this may be shared with your GP and any other health or social care professional with whom you may be working so that all those involved in your care can support you in the best way possible.  



The page was last updated on 18 April 2019 by nlegg.


Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust
Elizabeth House, Fulbourn Hospital
Cambridge, CB21 5EF

T 01223 219400 (open 8:30am to 5pm)
F 01480 398501

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