A Coherent Strategy to Tackleeatingdisorders; the Publication of Eating Disorders: A Framework for Wales Is a Real Milestone in the Quest to Improve Services for Sufferers in Wales, Writes Bethan Jenkins AM
Byline: Bethan Jenkins AM
WHEN I convened the first meeting of the cross-party group on eating disorders at the National Assembly in January 2008, it was clear the status quo was not an option.
With no national strategy in place, there was rising concern among the public, those suffering from eating disorders, their carers and families, health professionals and politicians, that services remained patchy across Wales.
There have been previous documents, notably the National Public Health Service for Wales' draft eating disorders care pathway, published in 2006, and while many health professionals referred to it as an example of good practice, it was not formally issued by the Welsh Assembly Government.
I was delighted that the health minister has announced new resources for improving eating disorders services in Wales - pounds 1.5m over the next three years. This goes hand in hand with the new Framework document.
Four areas need addressing in order to ensure a robust and co-ordinated approach to eating disorders services in Wales.
These are the role of frontline health professionals (especially GPs), the role of community mental health services, the link between hospitals and mental health services and the need for specialist teams to support all aspects of healthcare in relation to eating disorders.
The importance of GPs being able to identify the signs of eating disorders and knowing what action to take is highlighted in the Framework document.
This is essential as many have voiced concerns that if they did suspect eating disorders, there was no specialist service to refer patients to.
It is thus pleasing that the Framework recommends that those in primary care have a role in early detection of the patient's condition. …