THERE are ‘major gaps’ in Dorset eating disorder services and people power is needed to help change the future for sufferers and carers, say campaigners.

Earlier this year people were asked to fill in a questionnaire with their views on eating disorder services in Dorset to find out what worked about the system and what needed changing as part of an ongoing bid to create the ‘best possible service for people in Dorset’.

The questionnaire was created by Dorset Mental Health Forum (DMHF) steering group and a report has now been compiled by DMHF, the Dorset Health Care and the Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole PCT.

Esther Osborne, a peer specialist at DMHF, said she hoped people would now get behind the next stage of the consultation.

She said: “The findings of the questionnaire were very useful to us in determining what was good about the service, what didn’t work with it as it currently is - we got some ideas on what people would like to see.

“It gave us a broad spectrum of views, not just of sufferers but of carers, family and friends too.

“It does highlight that there are major gaps in the service and we want to take our next steps now to look at those gaps.

“As well as look at what works well and put it together to deliver the best possible service for all people concerned in Dorset.”

The report highlighted a number of problems faced by those with eating disorders including a ‘lack of services closer to home’, a ‘lack of GP understanding and general knowledge’ and a ‘serious lack of carer and peer support in Dorset’.

On the positive side respondents said that there were a number of helpful services including therapy services, inpatient and day treatment services and community mental health teams.

Miss Osborne said: “There’s a huge space for developing more community based services and a wider support network for Dorset sufferers and carers.”

Miss Osborne said she wanted people to know their views had counted and would help to change the services in the county.

The next step will be a meeting to discuss the proposed changes to eating disorder services which will be held at the Allendale Centre in Wimborne on September 20 from 6.30pm-8.30pm. The event will be a casual drop-in event and people can stay for as long as they wish.

Miss Osborne said: “We we really want everybody who’s a sufferer, a carer, a friend or a parent – anyone with experience or views on eating disorders and who wants to have an impact on how the service will now take shape–- we are begging them to come forward to a meeting we are having.”

She added that people’s views and opinions would be a ‘real catalyst for change’.

Among those at the meeting will be Miss Osborne and Ciaran Newell from Kimmerage Court.

If people can’t attend they can email their ideas to the Dorset Mental Health Forum at sueforber