GPs offered more ‘anorexia training’

GPs offered more ‘anorexia training’

By Catherine Walker

A survey carried out by ‘Beat’, the eating disorder charity, has revealed that nearly nine out of 10 sufferers of eating disorders said that their GP did not know how to help them.

Now a new service has been launched to offer Wiltshire GPs help with diagnosing eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia.  The service will also offer help on spotting disorders. Based at Savernake Hospital, The Wiltshire Community Eating Disorder Service, will also offer inpatient and day care services.

A GP’s understanding of the disorder ‘depends on how many people with an eating disorder they’ve actually worked with directly’ said Nicola Spiller, a clinical psychologist at the new unit.

"Unfortunately eating disorders have sometimes been the Cinderella specialty of mental health," she said.

"I think they are very challenging to work with and sometimes it hasn't been clear what treatment works.  One of the things we're hoping that the Eating Disorders Community Service can do is increase awareness with GPs and help them to develop a better understanding of the disorder and also give them training on how to work with people within their surgeries."

According to the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (2004) nearly 1.6 million people in the United Kingdom have an eating disorder. 

Useful Reading

Anorexia Nervosa: a survival guide for families, friends and suffers by Janet Treasure. Published by Brunner-Routledge

Buy this and other useful books here.

Eating disorders blog

For more information on eating disorders please also see


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