Eating disorder support highlighted in NHS guidelines

New health guidelines aimed at proving greater support to those suffering from eating disorders have been issued by NHS watchdog, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE).

Issued to GPs and mental health specialists, the guidelines recommend specific treatment plans for each condition, stressing the need for a full assessment of the physical, psychological and social aspects involved in each individual case.

The guidelines also recommend that families should become involved as an integral part of the treatment plan, and a special information booklet is being produced for parents and families.

It is thought that around 1.1 million people in the UK suffer from some sort of eating disorder, with those affected ranging in age from children as young as 8 to the over 65s. However, the majority of those who suffer from anorexia nervosa are teenage girls aged between 13-19, while the average for the onset of bulimia is 17-21.

Andrea Sutcliffe, Planning and Resources Director at NICE, said: "With about one in 250 females and one in 2,000 males experiencing anorexia in adolescence or young adulthood and about five times that number suffering from bulimia, this guideline is an important step in standardising the care available to people with eating disorders."

The guidelines have been greeted with a mixed response by experts, who have praised the attempt to raise awareness, but query the availability of NHS resources to fully implement the advice.

Indeed, a review undertaken by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in 2001 found that that the availability of specialist eating disorder services was "inadequate in large parts of the country", with four regions having no access to specialist services at all. The report recommended a substantial increase in consultant psychiatrists trained to diagnose and treat eating disorders.

Two years later, the Royal College found that over half the people with eating disorders were still being denied appropriate treatment. Speaking in July 2003, Professor Christopher Fairburn of Oxford University, said: “Some people with a mixed picture are difficult to treat and have been ignored. At the moment we are turning a blind eye to half our cases."


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

13 June 2019
New Project Aims To Tackle Sectarianism Among Young People
A new project aimed at tackling issues surrounding sectarianism and hate crime among young people in Belfast, has been announced by social justice charity Extern. As part of Belfast City Council's PEACE IV programme, the On the Right Track! Personal Change Programme will work with 14 marginalised young people each year between 13 and 16 years old.
05 June 2019
Gary Lightbody Shares Life Lessons With Young People
Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody has met with a group of young people from across Northern Ireland's community divide to share his perspectives and experiences on life.
11 December 2018
Sinn Fein: Bloody Sunday A Massacre Of Innocent People
A Sinn Fein MLA has hit out at the comments of a former British soldier who described Bloody Sunday as a "job well done". The former paratrooper is under investigation for his part in the massacre, when 13 people died after soldiers opened fire in L'Derry on 30 January 1972. Another person died later from their injuries.
01 August 2018
Three People Charged In Connection With Burglary
Three people are to appear in court charged in connection with burglary offences. Two men, aged 33 & 34, and a woman aged 18, are being charged in relation to two burglaries in north Belfast and one in Limavady on Monday, 30 July. The PSNI said the suspects will appear at Belfast Magistrates Court later this morning, 01 August.
27 July 2018
2,144 People Seen In Neurology Patient Recall
The Department of Health and consultant neurologist Dr John Craig have presented an update to elected representatives on the recall of neurology patients by Belfast Health and Social Care Trust. The Department also gave the position on the numbers of patients reviewed, collated by the Health and Social Care Board and Public Health Agency.