Call for more help for eating disorders

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By sophia1980 | Friday, November 16, 2012, 14:04

A nationwide petition calling for more resources to be put into tackling eating disorders has been launched following a special reception at the House of Commons.

More than 50 people, including those recovering from eating disorders, families of people who have died from anorexia, MPs, doctors and health professionals met in Westminster at an event organised by the charity Anorexia and Bulimia Care.

Now the charity, which for 23 years has been providing support for those affected by eating disorders, has launched the petition calling on parliament to provide resources for better treatment and training of staff to deal with the issue.

The move follows a 16% rise in hospital admissions for eating disorders in the last year to 2,290.

Tessa Munt MP (Lib Dem, Wells) who hosted the reception said: "If we don't do something to change the way our services are focussed and help people recognise what is happening swiftly then those with eating disorders will be in a difficult place by the time help comes through the authorities.

"Anorexia and Bulimia Care has launched an action month and we in parliament need to listen and take action ourselves over this serious issue facing the country."

A number of MPs attended or were represented at the reception, talking to those who have been affected by anorexia and bulimia.

Nick Hurd MP, Minister for Civil Society, said: "The impact of one person with an eating disorder can cause distress for a large number of people in families, schools and workplaces."

Jane Smith, Director of Anorexia and Bulimia Care, said: "The NICE guidelines set in 2004 talk about early intervention in eating disorders and yet still it has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.

"We want this month of action to raise awareness and bring the problem to the attention of those who can change things for the better."

Dr Dee Dawson, specialist in childhood eating disorders for over 25 years, told the reception: "For the past 5 years, despite growing demand from parents, referrals are less than half what they were 25 years ago.

"Most anorexic patients in this country struggle to find effective treatment. In many cases they are admitted to medical wards where the nurses know little about psychiatric problems and even less about nutrition. They are given little or no family therapy or individual therapy. Others go to psychiatric units where they are offered psychological support but their physical problems and weight gain are often severely neglected."

More information and details of how to sign the petition can be found at www.anorexiabulimiacare.org.uk.

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