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Addressing Eating Disorders in Primary Care

9 months ago

On Tuesday 26 March, WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) in collaboration with the National Eating Disorder Collaboration (NEDC), WA Eating Disorders Outreach and Consultation Service (WAEDOCS) and Eating Disorders Program Training and Evaluation Centre (EDTEC), Child and Adolescent Health Service, Perth Children’s Hospital hosted an education opportunity at Perth Children’s Hospital. This event brought together General Practitioners, psychologists, dieticians and other primary health care professionals to learn about eating disorders and the role health professionals play in early identification and supporting recovery. Early intervention is key, eating disorders affect approximately 9% of Australians; have one of the highest mortality rates of any mental illness; and require a multidisciplinary approach.

Over 60 people were in attendance and the evening opened with a presentation from HealthPathways, followed by the experts from WAEDOCS. The WAEDOCS team discussed starvation syndrome, genetic predisposition and environmental triggers, the difference between disordered eating and eating disorders and the impact of eating disorders on the brain and brain development. The types of eating disorders and treatment options both public and private were also discussed as well as the new MBS implications on workforce. The team at PCH then shared with attendees their intake criteria and the important work they do as well as the increasing number of males they have seen presenting with eating disorders.

The evening closed with an expert panel Q&A where the attendees were invited to ask questions about the services and understand referral pathways.

A similar event was hosted the following evening, 27 March, at Edith Cowan University in Bunbury. Over 40 participants were able to hear from expert Uli O’Sullivan, Training Coordinator and Dietitian, CAMHS Eating Disorders Program, and EDTEC - Eating Disorders Training and Evaluation Centre.

Positive feedback was received from participants, with many stating that they had not participated in prior training on eating disorders and it provided a valuable opportunity to learn about a topic which impacts on both mental and physical health.

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