This Eating Disorders Awareness Week, we are supporting our charity partner, Beat, in calling for all UK medical schools and foundation programmes to introduce proper training on eating disorders.
1 in 50 people will be affected by an eating disorder in the UK and more often than not, GPs are the first port of call for someone who is struggling.
With less than an average of 2 hours training in eating disorders – and with patient appointments lasting an average of just 10 minutes – GPs aren’t sufficiently armed with the information they need to respond to the growing population suffering with eating disorders.
There’s no ‘one way’ to have an eating disorder, and each diagnosis has a unique presentation. Many of the more nuanced symptoms can risk going unnoticed if stereotypes and myths prevail.
Delayed access to treatment is just one of the risks associated with a lack of training. In 2017, our charity partner, Beat, undertook research which revealed:
- Only 14% of people are referred within four weeks of their first GP visit
- Men and boys wait 28 weeks for a referral, compared to 10 weeks for women and girls
- 25% of sufferers aged 19 and over were referred to non-specialist services
- Less than 50% of patients received all the information they need about eating disorders, their treatment, and sources of extra support
This is significant when you consider anorexia – just one of the many eating disorder diagnoses – which has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness, demonstrating the importance of early intervention and rapid referral to specialist services.
As a social impact organisation, we recognise the importance of sharing the expertise of our team with the wider healthcare sector to improve access to services and outcomes in treatment.
This is the reason we launched our free CPD seminar series for therapists and medics alike who wish to learn more about eating disorders and treatment for recovery.
By building on our training offering year on year, we aim to equip individuals treating eating disorders (across the board) with the tools they need to make recovery possible for all.