A national review of services for people suffering from eating disorders is to be carried out to assess and improve support for them.
The review, which will cover eating disorder services for both adults and young people from the age of 12 and up, will publish its findings in spring next year.
It will make recommendations for how services can best be provided in urban, semi-urban and rural areas, and what the age limit, if any, of such services should be.
Work on the review will last for six months and start following the publication of the Mental Welfare Commission’s (MWC) report on eating disorder services which is expected in summer 2020.
Speaking at the start of Eating Disorder Awareness Week, mental health minister Clare Haughey MSP said: “More people lose their lives from eating disorders than any other psychiatric condition, therefore it requires a specialist and dedicated response.
“The national review will build on the work of the MWC who are currently visiting eating disorder services in Scotland.
“Direct investment in mental health has been increased to £117m in the 2020-21 draft budget. This will help us ensure better access to services.
“This review is a crucial first step in a programme of work to improve services for people living with an eating disorder. We want to see a second phase of improvement work in 2021, which will be guided by the review’s findings.”
The MWC is currently visiting a range of eating disorder services across the country including adult services, child and adolescent mental health services, outpatient and independent eating disorder care services in Scotland.
Dr Stephen Anderson, chairman of the eating disorders faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland, said: “Eating disorders are the deadliest and most lethal of mental health conditions and we know that earlier intervention saves lives.
“This is why we welcome this review of services, following on from the work by the Mental Welfare Commission.
“The college has discussed the possibility of a review with the Scottish Government on a number of occasions. We’re keen to work together to ensure everyone, no matter where they live – can access safe, timely and effective treatment for an eating disorder.
“We’re keen to learn from colleagues in Wales following their national review of eating disorder services and welcome the opportunity to make recommendations on how these services can best be provided across the country.”