GPs need access to specialists to assist bulimics

GPs need better access to specialist services if they are to help patients with eating disorders, an expert has said.

The call follows a survey by the Eating Disorders Association that showed 83 per cent of young people with an eating disorder said they would be unable to approach their GP or school nurse about their problem.

But Dr Sarah Jarvis, RCGP women’s health spokeswoman, said it was difficult for GPs to identify people with anorexia nervosa or bulimia.

GPs should suspect anorexia nervosa in underweight young women who present with repeat infections or amenorrhoea.

 Some areas lack the specialist services needed to treat these patients properly, she added.

‘GPs do need access to specialist care they can refer to. Otherwise, GPs should have access to specialist advice.’

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