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Marg Oaten's Blog

15th July 2019

Congratulations to all those people involved in the Victoria Derbyshire Show covering Eating Disorders on Monday 7th July 2019.

Firstly my heartfelt sympathy to the amazing Sue whose daughter lost her life to this devastating illness. There for the grace of God we were spared what has got to be the worst fear of any carers with a loved one struggling with medical risk due to starvation.

Lots of discussion around Gp awareness and the fact that they are only given 2 hours training on eating disorders. They don’t need training in eating disorders for the medical risk element. They are trained for 7 years minimum in medicine!

The basics – blood pressure, core body temperature, heart rate, hydration, pulse rate blood counts are what needs to happen and the guidance of Medical Risk in eating disorders version 2009 a paper written by Prof Janet Treasure is what is needed as to what should be happening. Every ward should have a copy; adult & children acute wards, A and E Departments, Psychiatric Units and anywhere a person may be medically affected by eating disorders.

In addition the MARSIPAN report identified a need amongst clinicians for guidance when managing adults with an eating disorder.

I totally agree GP’s need general awareness that an eating disorder is a mental health illness and can be life threatening should that person be medically at risk.

A GP has a 10 minute slot for patients in that time they are to be weighed, medicines prescribed and general oversight of basis stats be carried out. They cannot possibly cover all bases and that is why they should refer to mental health services or specialist eating disorder services should they be available to them locally.

Check out whether or not you are able to self-refer into NHS services.

Ask the GP to continue to monitor you on a regular basis, leaving the GP without another appointment can be disastrous. Our GP saw Gemma 3 times a week at times – repeating bloods each time, whilst she was poorly – many times we packed a bag ‘knowing’ she would be admitted to hospital later in the day. That GP saved her life.

A person needs a network of support around them that can include NHS provision, voluntary sector, group therapy, family therapy and/or social involvement. People won’t need too much as this may become overwhelming but they may need more than one intervention.

It is vital that there is a collaborative approach to services with inclusion on an equal level of statutory services and the third sector.

Not once did anyone mention resources and understanding. When Gemma was 10 years old the treatment and approach to eating disorders was disgusting, Victorian in some ways, Child in Mother Out! – I literally walked around the ground of the local psychiatric unit in tears not knowing where to go or what to do with myself.

There was not one leaflet I could read about the illness. Not one scrap of paper telling me how to cope or what to do for my precious daughter!

We didn’t have a computer – Google was a foreign word, I remember clearly when we first did get a computer and I realised I had to switch it on and get a signal god forbid! Plus the fact it took me 2 hours to find something.

Browse our website for a wealth of information, resources and nutritional information.

Anything I can do to support anyone please just ask.

“Two years ago I came to your website for help and I can't even explain how much it helped me and the work you do is incredible. I have never actually been in contact with anyone at SEED (I have never had the confidence) but quietly in the background i used your website for guidance, meal plans and even just to get an understanding of what was going on with my body. I honestly believe I would not be where I am today without my daily help from this website!”

Marg Oaten