RCPsych responds to parliamentary inquiry on Type 1 diabetes and eating disorders

Statement / comment
24 January 2024

A parliamentary inquiry has highlighted that people with Type 1 diabetes and disordered eating face significant challenges when trying to access care.

The inquiry, chaired by the former prime minister Theresa May MP and Sir George Howarth MP, has published a new report with several recommendations aimed at improving the level of support that is available.

Responding to the report, Dr Ashish Kumar, Chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Eating Disorders Faculty, said:

“We know Type 1 diabetes and disordered eating has a negative impact on people’s physical and mental health, particularly when they find it difficult to access the holistic care they need. The practical steps outlined in this report will enhance efforts to prevent and treat Type 1 diabetes and disordered eating. They should be implemented as soon as possible.

“People with this condition interact with a variety of healthcare services, ranging from diabetes clinics to emergency departments, and it is vital that staff are trained to spot the signs of the illness. This will ensure more people are identified quickly and offered the care they need before their condition becomes more severe.

“Anyone who needs professional support should receive it from eating disorder and diabetes services which have a full understanding of every aspect of their illness. Services must work closely together to provide comprehensive care and ensure they are meeting all of their patients’ needs.

“Unfortunately, there is still a significant training gap which is preventing many services from providing the best possible care. The Royal College of Psychiatrists has published ‘Medical Emergencies in Eating Disorders’ guidance which is aimed at supporting staff to improve the level of care they can offer. Eating disorder services should share this guidance with staff and ensure it is complied with where possible."

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