Wera Hobhouse, the Liberal Democrat MP for Bath, is calling on government to provide better treatment for eating disorders, after it was revealed that over a million people in the UK have one.
Figures from the charity Beat show that it takes 85 weeks from the moment that someone realises they have an eating disorder, until treatment starts.
There are now calls growing across the country to change this. A petition started by campaigner Hope Virgo to #DumpTheScales has gathered almost 65,000 signatures.
The campaign started based on Hope’s experience of being told she wasn’t thin enough when she spoke about her problems with her GP.
The campaign has now reached Westminster, with a motion tabled by MP Wera Hobhouse setting out how to enable the NHS to treat eating disorders more successfully.
Wera said: “We need to do better. People are not getting the help or treatment that they need right now. We need an overhaul of the current system with an introduction of standard waiting times for adults as well as children.
“There needs to be a focus on mental health, and earlier intervention needs to take place to help those who suffer from an eating disorder. It has been a privilege to work with Hope on this and bring attention to such an important issue.”
Imogen, a Bath resident who is currently working to beat her eating disorder said: “Eating disorders are a living nightmare. It takes control of your life. My intrusive thoughts are constantly telling me how fat I am and need to take weight loss pills and go to the gym.
“I can’t eat what I want and my social life is always affected. I’m always having to turn down meal invitations and I spend more time at the gym than with friends.
“I’d do anything to be free of bulimia and have the past back.”
Hope Virgo, who is originally from Bristol said: “I am so excited that we have cross party support coming forward to raise awareness of eating disorders. I never thought that this would happen when I launched my campaign #Dumpthescales a few months ago.”
“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.”
Wera continued: “Please write to your MP and get them to sign our motion! We need to keep eating disorder treatment front and centre the minds of politicians in Westminster.”