Increase Eating Disorder Training for Medical Students and Junior Doctors

Research has shown that, on average, UK undergraduate medical students receive less than two hours of teaching on eating disorders, throughout their entire medical degree. Even more concerningly, 20% of medical schools do not include eating disorders at all in their teaching. Given that 1.25 million people in the UK suffer from an eating disorder, and around 5% of the population will be affected at some point in lifetime, this is something that needs to change.

The situation

“In my six years of medical school, I have had less than an hour’s teaching on eating disorders. Now, I work in a busy Emergency Department. I began to notice there were patients coming in displaying behaviours and thinking patterns I easily recognised from my own experience of an eating disorder. However, every clinician I brought this up to said the same thing: “We don’t see a lot of patients with eating disorders”. Again and again: “Eating disorders are not a common problem”, and worse: “Eating disorders are not treatable anyway”. I couldn’t believe how little they knew and how old-fashioned their views were.”

Eating disorders are highly complex mental illnesses, but they are treatable. Just two hours of training is not enough time to equip medical students with the knowledge to identify the physiological and psychological signs and symptoms and provide the necessary interventions to help sufferers access the most appropriate treatment at the earliest opportunity.

My daughter was sent away after the first appointment to come back in six months. She deteriorated. We returned after five months and were then sent away for another month…On the third appointment he realised how serious things had become and she saw a specialist in two days. But what price the delay?Lorna, parent

We know there are some fantastic medical practitioners out there and we want every person who presents with an eating disorder to experience this high quality care. We are campaigning to ensure that every new doctor completes their training with the knowledge and skills to best support someone with an eating disorder, whatever area of medicine they work in.

My daughter has not fully recovered but [if it wasn’t] for GP care she might not be alive at all. The care shown by our GPs to the whole family has been exemplary.Survey participant

What you can do

If you would like to support the work on this campaign, just fill in the form and we’ll be in touch. You may have had a good or bad experience with a doctor that you can share with us. If you are a medical student or doctor, you may have some specific good or bad

experiences of training on eating disorders that you can share with us. The power of the campaign depends on the voices of those who have lived experience of the issue, so we’d love to hear from you.

We'd love to keep in touch with you to tell you about our work in the fight against eating disorders and how you can help through fundraising, campaigning and volunteering opportunities.

We take your privacy seriously and will never sell or swap your details with anyone. You can find out more about how we protect and use your details in our Privacy Statement. If we have your postal address, we may contact you by post unless you tell us otherwise. You can unsubscribe or change your communication preferences at any time.