Yeovil MP Marcus Fysh today called for urgent action from the Government on eating disorders following the publication of a report called ‘Ignoring the Alarms follow-up: Too many avoidable deaths from eating disorders’, by the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee. As a committee member Marcus helped with the inquiry taking evidence from Healthcare experts as well as a people who have suffered from eating disorders. The report looks at progress made since a series of recommendations were made by the Health Service Ombudsman in December 2017.
The report finds that training on eating disorders in medical schools is limited to ‘just a few hours’ and that, as the first port-of-call for many sufferers, medical staff and GPs in particular need significantly more training on the nature of anorexia nervosa and the behaviours that sufferers may display. The report also identifies a series of failings from the NHS to act on recommendations for improving care for patients with eating disorders to avoid unnecessary deaths.
Marcus adds that the issues highlighted in the report are similar to some he has seen in Somerset. ‘I have tried to help in a few cases locally where people are not getting the care they need. These can be incredibly challenging situations but I hope this report does prompt some improvements in areas such as training and early diagnosis. I lost a friend to an eating disorder many years ago and this is an area that I am passionate about improving and delivering results on.’ He also met representatives from the Somerset and Wessex Eating Disorder Association last week to talk about their experiences at the front line.
The report comes as Beat, a charity focussed on eating disorders, also published some research in paper called Lives at Risk which points to a postcode lottery for treatment waiting times. Estimates suggest that around 1% of the population may have an eating disorder at any time. ‘Ignoring the Alarms’ also found that there are few eating disorder specialists in the NHS, and therefore many patients do not have access to the specialist, dedicated care they need.
‘Ignoring the Alarms’ and more information about PACAC is available here: https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/public-administration-and-constitutional-affairs-committee/
‘Lives at Risk’ and more information about Beat is available here: https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/