Ignoring the alarms: How NHS eating disorder services are failing patients

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, December 2017

Reports on the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s investigation that found that Averil Hart’s death from anorexia would have been avoided if the NHS had cared for her appropriately. It highlights five areas of focus to improve eating disorder services.

  1. General Medical Council (GMC) should conduct a review of training for all junior doctors on eating disorders to improve understanding of these complex mental health conditions.
  2. Health Education England (HEE) should review how its current education and training can address the gaps in provision of eating disorder specialists. If necessary HEE should consider how the existing workforce can be further trained and used more innovatively to improve capacity. It should also look at how future workforce planning might support the increased provision of specialists in this field.
  3. The Department of Health and NHS and availability of adult eating disorder services to achieve parity with child and adolescent services.
  4. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence should consider including coordination in its new Quality Standard for eating disorders to help bring about urgent improvements in this area.
  5. Both NHS Improvement and NHS England have a leadership role to play in supporting local NHS providers and commissioners to conduct and learn from serious incident investigations. NHSE and NHSI should use the forthcoming Serious Incident Framework review to clarify their respective oversight roles in relation to serious incident investigations. They should also set out what their role would be in circumstances where local NHS organisations are failing to work together to establish what has happened and why, so that lessons can be learnt.

Click here to read the full report.


Guidance for reporting against access and waiting time standards: Children and young people with an eating disorder; early intervention in psychosis

NHS England, March 2016

This document aims to explain how the indicators for the referral to treatment waiting time elements of the two standards are constructed and confirms the data that will need to be submitted as part of the new Mental Health Services Data Set (MHSDS) to measure progress and inform future development.

Click here to view the document.

Access and Waiting Time Standard for Children and Young People with an Eating Disorder: Commissioning Guide

NHS England, August 2015

The primary aim of this document is to deliver guidance on establishing and maintaining a community eating disorder service.  This guide is aimed primarily at commissioners, referrers and providers of eating disorder care who are required to agree service development and improvement plans as part of the contracting process. It sets out how to prepare for the Access and Waiting Time Standard for Children and Young People with an Eating Disorder.

Click here to view the full guidance.

NHS England launches first stage of new programme to improve young people’s mental health services

NHS England, August 2015

NHS England has distributed £30m of funding to improve eating disorder services aiming to achieve 95 per cent of patients being seen within four weeks or one week for urgent cases by 2020.

The funding is the first stage of a new programme to improve children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing and will be used to improve community based eating disorder (ED) services so patients are helped earlier and fewer need in-patient care.

Click here for further information.

The Costs of Eating Disorders: Social, Health and Economic Impacts

Beat, 24 February 2015

This economic analysis commissioned by Beat, the eating disorders charity, examines the overall costs of eating disorders to the UK economy, indicates how inconsistent access to treatment can be for individuals, and that the cost to the economy is in the tens of billions of pounds. 

Click here to view the full report.

Funds pledged to help children with eating disorders

BBC News, 2 December 2014

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is set to pledge an extra £150m of funding to help children with eating disorders.  The aim is to invest in preventative therapy to cut the need for hospital treatment…

Click here to view the full story.