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Eating disorder patients ‘repeatedly failed’, says England watchdog

Urgent action is needed to prevent people dying from eating disorders, the parliamentary and health service ombudsman for England has warned, as he said those affected are being “repeatedly failed”.

The NHS needs a “complete culture change” in how it approaches the condition, while ministers must make it a “key priority”, according to Rob Behrens.

Little progress has been made since the publication of a devastating report by his office in 2017, which highlighted “serious failings” in eating disorder services, he said.

Lives continue to be lost because of “the lack of parity between child and adult services”, and “poor coordination” between NHS staff involved in treating patients. There remain issues with the training of medical professionals, Behrens added.

“We raised concerns six years ago in our ignoring the alarms report, so it’s extremely disappointing to see the same issues still occurring,” he said. “Small steps in improvements have been taken, but progress has been slow, and we need to see a much bigger shift in the way eating disorder services are delivered."

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Source: The Guardian, 27 February 2023


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