High demand for eating disorder services means some patients are prioritised based on how low their weight has dropped

ITV News has learned of some patients not able to receive specialist help with eating disorders, because of demand on the services. 

In some cases the deciding factor is whether their weight has dropped low enough.

The NHS says that shouldn't determine whether someone can access treatment, but campaigners say it happens regularly. 

One Trust told us it's regrettable, but they do have to prioritise, to help those most in need. 

Farran, aged 21 said she became aware of her unhealthy relationship with food around this time last year.

Her GP was very supportive, and tried referring her for specialist treatment.   

But, she says, they were told her weight wasn't low enough.   

Farran said it took some time before she recognised she needed help: "I didn't really think lockdown had effected me at first, but then it got to the extreme of changing my diet and over exercising and one thing lead to another and control took over and I just couldn't stop."

During the pandemic, there's been a surge in the number of people seeking help for eating disorders.    

All the more reason to improve access to treatment according to one specialist, who says there's too much focus on physical, rather than mental health

Renee added that the mental health of patients is just as important as their physical health: "We need to start being able to recognise when someone has cognitively reached a point that is going to cause them more harm than good."

If you, or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, please reach out for support.

Here are some charities and organisations that can offer advice on where to access care.