In 2018/2019 Beat conducted research into access, waiting times and staffing levels at NHS adult community eating disorder services in England. We submitted a Freedom of Information request to service providers and conducted eight in-depth interviews with people with lived experience focusing on the impacts of long waiting times. The findings demonstrate alarming discrepancies in access to specialist treatment, waiting times and staffing levels at adult eating disorder services in England. This briefing outlines the key findings and our recommendations for Government and the NHS in England.
The findings demonstrate that adults with eating disorders in England face a postcode lottery in terms of access to specialist treatment, waiting times and staffing levels at adult eating disorder services in England. Many adults face long waits to start treatment. Long waiting times can have severe impacts on patients’ efforts to recover and their safety. The service providers with the shortest waiting times generally treat relatively small numbers of patients, which is suggestive of higher thresholds to access these services.