Transformation Partners in Health and Care > News > Guidelines for primary care professionals on referring children and young people with eating disorders endorsed

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

In partnership with Beat, the UK’s eating disorder charity, we have produced guidelines for primary care professionals about treating children and young people with eating disorders.

Eating disorders are serious mental health conditions. There are many common eating disorders and it is vital that children and young people with eating disorders and their families and carers can access high-quality care and support as soon as possible. This can improve recovery rates, lead to fewer relapses and reduce the need for inpatient admissions.

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 and 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.

Dr Tom Coffey said: “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.”

The guidelines provide an overview of:

  • Red flag symptoms
  • What to look out for and consider
  • When to refer and assessment timescales
  • Information which should be included in the referral
  • Contact information for the seven London community eating disorder services for children and young people

Additional Support for Parents and Carers:

Caring for a loved one with an eating disorder can be a lonely and isolating experience. That’s why Beat in partnership with London’s 3 Children and Young People’s Mental Health Inpatient Provider Collaboratives and the 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. The number to call to access these support services for parents is 0808 801 0356.

For more information about Beat support services, visit

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