Ensuring that future doctors are equipped to identify the signs and symptoms of an eating disorder should be a priority for the SNP Government. Last year, the National Review of Eating Disorder Services recommended the establishment of a National Eating Disorder Network, which would support and lead on training for healthcare professionals.
The review also called for a comprehensive training plan to equip the entire healthcare workforce with the skills needed to deliver high quality care for people with eating disorders in all settings. I know the SNP Government intend to take the review’s recommendations forward, but I will follow the matter closely in Holyrood to ensure that we do not just get more warm words from SNP ministers.
As things stand, it is unacceptable that those suffering with eating disorders in Scotland fall within scope of the national 18-week target for child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), especially given the life threatening nature of conditions like anorexia. Elsewhere in the UK, there is a target for treatment to begin within one week for urgent cases and four weeks for routine cases. The Scottish Conservatives are clear that the SNP must step up and review their dangerous target if they are to truly tackle this issue.
More broadly, I am deeply concerned that the number of patients referred to CAMHS almost tripled between 2018-19 and 2020-21. And further to this, I understand that there has been a significant increase in the complexity and severity of illness in those referred for in-patient treatment. Given this alarming trend, I will continue to follow the matter incredibly closely in Holyrood.