The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has released new quality statements for treating people with eating disorders in England.
The standard states that children and young people referred to an eating disorder service should start assessment and treatment within four weeks. However, there are still no national waiting times targets for adults despite research showing adults wait longer at every stage for treatment. Additionally, they state that People with eating disorders must have a discussion with a healthcare professional about their options for psychological treatment.
‘These standards recognise the importance of ensuring early appropriate and coordinated treatment for all kinds of eating disorders and that is very encouraging,’ said Beat’s Director of External Affairs, Tom Quinn. “Failure to coordinate between services can put patients’ lives at risk and it is significant that the new standards recommend patient care plans and risk assessments to avoid this.
‘However, lack of resources for frontline NHS eating disorder services means there is still a postcode lottery when it comes to access to and quality of treatment. The Government and NHS must improve medical training, ensure all local services have the resources to meet the new standards and that treatment is available for all kinds of eating disorder. The NICE standards state that people with binge eating disorder should receive appropriate treatment but in many services that is not the case.’
Additionally, NICE also accepted the recommendations of a Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman report, that greater emphasis is put on the need to coordinate care across different services.
People with eating disorders often have additional mental health problems, for example anxiety or depression, and may be in contact with several health specialists. Communication between these sectors is crucial to ensure people with eating disorders are fully supported. NICE has said that this should include a detailed care plan explaining how the services will work together.
‘We are committed to ensuring our guidance meets the needs of those who are affected by eating disorders and are pleased to have had the opportunity to respond to issues raised during consultation,’ said Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive at NICE.
‘By highlighting these areas for improvement, we hope that more people with eating disorders receive the best care, as soon as possible.’