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Volume 465: debated on Tuesday 23 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the Government’s policy is on the treatment of anorexia; and what research is being (a) undertaken and (b) commissioned by his Department. (159325)

We take the issue of anorexia and other eating disorders, especially among young people, very seriously. This is why the Department asked the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to produce a clinical guideline on the core interventions in the treatment and management of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and related eating disorders. NICE published the guideline in 2004 and is due to review it in January 2008.

In the four years to the end of March 2007, we invested over £400 million of additional money into the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) provided by the national health service and local authorities. These funds will assist in meeting and maintaining the Department’s public service agreement standard of a comprehensive CAMHS, including services for young people with an eating disorder. Further funds totalling £130 million have been made available to the NHS and local authorities for the development of CAMHS in 2007-08.

The Department funds NHS research and development through the National Institute for Health Research. The Institute’s research programmes support high quality research of relevance and in areas of high priority to patients and the NHS. This research currently includes a centrally funded trial evaluating the clinical and cost effectiveness of three treatments for young people with anorexia nervosa, and a project on the translation of experimental neuroscience into clinical practice in the treatment of the condition.

Over the last 10 years, the main part of the Department’s total expenditure on health research has been devolved to and managed by NHS organisations. Details of individual NHS supported research projects including more than 200 projects concerned with anorexia are available on the national research register at

The Department awarded £1.9 million to Professor Ulrike Schmidt, Professor of Eating Disorders at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) in February 2007. The grant to SLaM, in partnership with the eating disorders charity beat and the Institute of Psychiatry is designed to conduct research into the identification and treatment of anorexia.