Eating disorders are associated with significant illness burden and costs, yet access to evidence-based care is limited. Greater use of programme-led and focused interventions that are less resource-intensive might be part of the solution to this demand-capacity mismatch.
In October 2022, a group of predominantly UK-based clinical and academic researchers, charity representatives and people with lived experience convened to consider ways to improve access to, and efficacy of, programme-led and focused interventions for eating disorders in an attempt to bridge the demand-capacity gap.
Several key recommendations were made across areas of research, policy, and practice. Of particular importance is the view that programme-led and focused interventions are suitable for a range of different eating disorder presentations across all ages, providing medical and psychiatric risk are closely monitored. The terminology used for these interventions should be carefully considered, so as not to imply that the treatment is suboptimal.
Programme-led and focused interventions are a viable option to close the demand-capacity gap for eating disorder treatment and are particularly needed for children and young people. Work is urgently needed across sectors to evaluate and implement such interventions as a clinical and research priority.