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‘I worry my young patients will die’: UK’s eating disorder services not fit, say GPs

Young people with eating disorders are coming to harm and ending up in A&E because they are being denied care and forced to endure long waits for treatment, GPs have revealed.

NHS eating disorders services are so overwhelmed by a post-Covid surge in problems such as anorexia that they are telling under-19s to rely on charities, their parents or self-help instead.

The “truly shocking” findings about the help available to young people with often very fragile mental health emerged in a survey of 1,004 family doctors across the UK by the youth mental health charity stem4.

The shortage of beds for children and young people with eating disorders is so serious that some are being sent hundreds of miles from home or ending up on adult psychiatric wards, GPs say.

“The provision is awful and I worry my young patients may die,” one GP in the south-east of England told stem4. Another described the specialist NHS services available in their area as “virtually non-existent and not fit for purpose”.

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Source: The Guardian, 22 March 2023


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