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Eating Disorder charity, BEAT’s director of external affairs, Tom Quinn said, in a comment to publication Nursing Times: “Failure to coordinate between services can put patients’ lives at risk” commenting on the new Eating Disorder Quality Standard published by NICE.

The NICE publication, which calls for more joined up communication between different health services which are treating a patient, follows the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s report, Ignoring the alarms: How NHS eating disorder services are failing patients, published in December 2017.

One of the prompts for this report was the tragic death from anorexia in 2012, of university student, Averil Hart, judged by the PSHO to have been ‘preventable’.

The NICE standards state: “People with eating disorders who are being supported by more than one service [should] have a care plan that explains how the services will work together.”

There is also attention to bringing psychology service into talks at diagnosis with health professionals and also speeding up time between diagnosis and treatment. The guidance states: “People with suspected eating disorders who are referred to an eating disorder service [should] start assessment and treatment within four weeks for children and young people, or a locally agreed timeframe for adults.” Also that: “healthcare professionals should have a discussion with eating disorder patients about their options for psychological treatment.”

Ellern Mede medical director, Dr Hind Al Khairulla said: “I welcome this recognition of the need for bodies to share information. At Ellern Mede, we communicate well, before admission, through treatment and after discharge. This includes liaison with the patient’s family, NHS community support teams, GPs, the young person’s educational provider and any other specialist care teams. It is vital that young people with eating disorders are treated as soon as possible as with time, the patient becomes less receptive to treatment.”