New guidance for doctors over treatment of people with eating disorders

Doctors in Scotland are to be given new guidelines to support the treatment and care of patients with eating disorders.

The move is part of the Scottish Government’s 10-year mental health strategy, which was outlined in 2017.

Having been produced by the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (Sign), the guidance will focus on the “unique cultural and geographical make up of Scotland”.

This includes remote and rural parts of the country where there may be not be specialist treatment available.

It will also give clinicians more advice on supporting patients with medical complications associated with anorexia nervosa. A version of the guidance will also be included for patients and carers.

In 2017/18, around 536 people across Scotland were treated for an eating disorder diagnosis.

Mental Health minister Clare Haughey said the guidance would help to support clinicians in their treatment of patients.

“It is vital that patients across Scotland have the best possible support available and I welcome the eating disorder guidance Sign is creating which will give clinicians in Scotland more specific advice,” said Ms Haughey.

“Our ambitious 10-year Mental Health Strategy, backed by investment of £150 million over the next five years, sets out clearly how we can improve early intervention, and ensure better access to services, including specific actions to support people with eating disorders

“Eating disorders do not discriminate – anyone can be affected by them and we are committed to raising awareness across Scotland.”

Sara Twaddle, Healthcare Improvement Scotland, welcomed the introduction of the guidelines.

Ms Twaddle said: “Studies tell us that eating disorders in teenage girls may be as high as 12% and that male eating disorders are increasingly being recognised.

“Moreover, professional and public bodies representing people with eating disorders tell us that there’s a need for a guideline on diagnosis and treatment that is specific to the needs of Scotland.

“We believe that the guidelines will support access to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and will complement the work Healthcare Improvement Scotland is providing to support this.

“Our intention is that the guideline improves the care that people receive, and improves service provision and outcomes across all of Scotland.”

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