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Guidelines for primary care and education professionals on referring children and young with eating disorders

Healthy London Partnership in partnership with Beat, the UK’s eating disorder charity, has launched updated eating disorder guidelines for primary care and education professionals.

The guidelines share advice about spotting the signs of eating disorders and when to refer children and young people to the community eating disorders service for specialist support. They have been endorsed by Dr Tom Coffey OBE GP, Clinical Lead for Mental Health and Children’s Services at Wandsworth CCG and Mayoral Health Advisor, “as a GP who has used these guidelines, I know first-hand what an excellent and invaluable resource they are to support primary care professionals identify, manage and support children and young people with a suspected eating disorder. Eating disorders are complex with many underlying causes and it’s crucial to recognise the symptoms early on. This short, simple and very practical tool supports primary care professionals to do this, and I strongly encourage my colleagues across London to use these guidelines”.

Emma Murray, Head Teacher, Seven Sisters Primary School and Centre described the education guidelines as “a very easy to read, visual guideline that supports educationalists in spotting the early signs of eating disorders. Teachers are in a very unique situation whereby they can spot the signs early as they see children and young people regularly. These guidelines will assist us in knowing what to look for, in knowing what to say and most importantly knowing where to get support.” 

Our updated guidelines also provide information on free additional support for parents and carers. Beat in partnership with London’s 3 Children and Young People’s Mental Health Inpatient Provider Collaboratives and Healthy London Partnership is offering Nexus, a telephone support service for parents caring for a loved one who has an eating disorder and Solace, an online peer support group where parents can find support and empathy from people who truly understand what they’re experiencing. Andrew Radford, Chief Executive of Beat, said: “we know that caring for a loved one with an eating disorder can be an isolating experience, but that carers can play an essential role in helping a loved one recover from an eating disorder. That’s why we are pleased to offer our free programmes, Nexus and Solace. To make a referral call Beat’s Supportline on 0808 801 0356. Parents and carers can also access these services through their GP or by calling the CarEd Supportline directly.”

View or download the guidelines from our children and young people’s eating disorders resources page.

Learn more about our Children and Young People programme and view our latest resources here.