Anorexia nervosa: Australian treatment guide for consumers and carers, 2005

Standards and other issues

Page last updated: June 2005

It is reasonable for people experiencing a traumatic and life threatening illness such as anorexia nervosa to expect reasonable standards of care. Consumers generally agree that some things matter in particular to help them progress in treatment. These include, that health professionals should:

  • Explain their role in the treatment of anorexia nervosa
  • Work as a team when providing services
  • Recognise your medical, nutritional, psychological, social and emotional needs
  • Be flexible to the changing nature of your needs during treatment
  • Provide prompt referral to other specialised health professionals so that all aspects of treatments are covered
  • Liaise closely with their expert colleagues if they have limited experience or expertise in anorexia nervosa
  • Work out within the team that one of them co-ordinates and acts as your advocate through the treatment process
  • Provide moral support
  • Not refuse to help you without offering you an alternative
  • Extend help or referral to your family.
It is also recommended that you check the qualifications that health professionals hold. The following are possible qualifications that you would probably like to know about. There may be others.

For general practitioners:

  • Are they a Fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (FRACGP)?
  • Are they a member of their local Division of General Practice?
  • Do they have a masters of Psychological Medicine from the University of New South Wales or Monash University?

For psychiatrists:

  • Are they a Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (FRANZCP) or of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (FRCPsych) or an Affiliate of the RANZCP?

For psychologists:

  • Are they a registered psychologist? They need to show this on their letterhead.
  • Do they have a Masters degree in clinical psychology (MPsychol) or a postgraduate qualification such as a PhD in clinical psychology or a diploma in clinical psychology?
  • Are they a member of the Australian Psychological Society (MAPS) and of the Society's College of Clinical Psychology?
  • Are they a member of the Australian Association for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?
Health care complaints tribunals or systems exist in each jurisdiction. You can discuss your concerns with them in confidence, and you can also write to them to lodge a complaint formally. Your complaint is then considered for mediation or investigation.

Being fully informed

Ensuring you are fully informed is often the best way to get the highest standard of treatment for any health problem. The same is true for anorexia nervosa. Questions you might wish to ask about your treatment are suggested in Appendix 2.