not diagnosing eating disorders early enough, says campaign group
by staff reporter
are failing to diagnose eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia
quickly enough, a campaign group said today.
to 1.1 million people, mainly girls, are thought to be experiencing
eating disorders, with those aged between 14 and 20 most vulnerable.
the Eating Disorders Association (EDA) says in a report that access
to specialist services for sufferers was "patchy" across
Britain, despite National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE)
guidelines to improve the care and treatment of such patients.
a week goes by without EDA hearing from a family whose story includes
the fact that their GP either didn't pick up on the problem, or
else didn't act quickly enough," said Susan Ringwood, the EDA's
unfortunate situation must be resolved quickly to prevent more young
lives being lost to these deadly disorders."
interviewed 1,700 patients and families across the country and found
wide variations in standards of care.
survey found 42% thought that access to early diagnosis was unsatisfactory,
while 19% said there was room for improvement.
A shortage of specialist units around the UK meant that many patients
were being treated a long way from home, or in general psychiatric
some parts of Britain the nearest specialist service could be 150
Getting Better report comes a year after NICE published guidelines
setting out the best standards for the treatment of eating disorders
in the NHS in England and Wales, which said people seeking help
should be assessed and treated "at the earlier opportunity".
Ringwood said 55% of patients were not being treated by a specialist,
while only 17% of young people were being cared for in a setting
appropriate to their age.
health minister Rosie Winterton defended the government's record,
saying the issue of eating disorders was taken seriously, particularly
among young people.
does not happen overnight, but I am confident that the record investment
going into mental health NHS services will make a real difference
to people who suffer from eating disorders."
'Getting Better? Is the quality of
treatment for eating disorder in the UK getting better? (pdf)
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