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Secondary Care: Specialist Professionals

At this level of care, you are normally received as an outpatient at a hospital or clinic for your appointment.

Your doctor may decide that you need more specialist treatment and care and refer you on to other professionals such as a psychologist, psychiatrist, counsellor, specialist nurse or dietician.

(If your doctor is not able to find the specialist treatment you need in your area, you can ask them to find out about specialist treatment out of your area and for you to be referred for this treatment.)

There is often a waiting list for these services and it can take a few weeks to get a letter telling you when your first appointment will be. The letter should tell you everything you need to know, such as the name of the specialist you will be seeing, how to get to your appointment and the date and time of your appointment. It is important that you seek and are able to access treatment as soon as possible.

Whilst you are waiting for your appointment, you should still be able to see your GP regularly so that they can monitor how you are doing. If they don’t offer you further appointments, ask them or arrange to see a different GP.

Most people will see a psychologist/ psychiatrist/counsellor/specialist nurse who will see you for 40-60 minutes weekly for about 20 sessions. During this time you will discuss how you feel, the problems you have with eating and other areas of your life, and they will help you to make positive changes.

It felt so scary to go to a psychiatrist to begin with, but gradually I began to really appreciate having someone who understood eating disorders and could help.

Most people who are diagnosed with an eating disorder receive treatment within primary or secondary care.