David Drew MP: "Why getting help for an eating disorder shouldn't depend on your weight"
Over a million people in the country have suffered from Eating Disorders at some point in their life, but many are not properly diagnosed because they are told by GPs that they are not underweight or overweight enough. This only makes the problem worse.
David Drew MP is one of the MPs who have signed a cross-party letter to the Department of Health and Social Care supporting the 'Dump the Scales' campaign, after they were disappointed at the Department’s response to call from campaigner Hope Virgo.
Read the MP’s letter below.
The campaign seeks to improve the support for people with eating disorders, with thresholds not based on BMI but the person's needs.
At present, people need to be at a very low BMI before they are referred for support - that means people have to reach a crisis point (anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness) before they can get the help they need - that's totally unacceptable and must change.
The Dump The Scales campaign started following Hope Virgo’s experience of being turned away from services for not being “thin” enough. This didn’t just happen to Hope but happens to hundreds of people weekly across the NHS.
David Drew MP said:
“I’ve seen cases in Stroud constituency where people have been unable to access the treatment they need because of their weight. Early intervention and support is vital to tackle eating disorders and should not depend on what the scales say.”
The campaign is calling on the government to implement the NICE Guidelines around the diagnosis of Eating Disorders, and therefore to not measure the BMI of those seeking treatment.
Hope Virgo who started the #DumpTheScales campaign said:
"I am so excited that we have cross party support coming forward to raise awareness of eating disorders. People with eating disorders are getting an unfair deal in society. It is not right that people are turned away from support because of their BMI.
“This was devastating to me when I relapsed from anorexia and it happens every day to thousands of people, leaving them feeling suicidal, alone and without help. It isn't right that we live in a society which is so fixated on weight and BMI. Eating disorders are not about weight and therefore should not be judged on this."
Turning someone away from treatment not only impacts the person suffering but also those around them. The symptoms have long term impacts on the individual impacting all aspects of life which means that businesses are also effected.
Investing in early intervention and prevention is essential to individuals having long lasting recovery.
Hope Virgo said;
“There is a disconnect between the NHS England guidelines, that say BMI should not be relied on to diagnose eating disorders, and the experience of people in surgeries across the country. I’m glad that [INSERT MP NAME] is taking action in Parliament.”
Rachel Morris MBE said,
“It is vital we start changing the way we see people specifically young people who have so many new pressures put on given and turn that against themselves. Being part of Dump The Scales is something I am very passionate about, partly as someone who has struggled with both anorexia and bulimia and now as I am working with more mental health in young people and adults I am seeing 'below the tip of the ice berg' as people open up to me. It is so important to support people early on in the illness and that not being done through a number”
You can sign the petition https://www.change.org/p/eating-disorders-are-not-just-about-weight-dumpthescales