Hugh Herzig has taken part in a BBC Points West focus on eating disorders in men. Hugh is a Director of the Eating Disorders Health Integration Team (EDHIT).
Hugh – consultant psychiatrist with STEPs eating disorders service at Southmead – was invited into the studio by the Points West team for a live interview as part of the feature, which led the evening news on Wednesday 7 December.
The item focused on the experiences of Simon Rickards from Cheltenham, who developed anorexia following an intense weight-loss programme. Initially celebrating a seven stone weight loss from 23 stone, Simon was gradually forced to accept he had developed a disorder as his weight continued to drop dangerously to his current low of eight stone. Simon is using his own ongoing battle with anorexia to raise awareness of eating disorders in men and to highlight the need for additional specialist inpatient resources to be made available to men.
During his interview, Hugh expanded on the issues raised by Simon, explaining that the efforts made across the NHS to improve quality and dignity in patient care have paradoxically led to some specialist eating disorder services no longer being permitted to admit male patients. Hugh discussed some possible solutions, explaining that STEPs is able to admit male patients on condition that the service provides additional staffing for the duration of the admission, specifically to ensure that the privacy and dignity of both female and male patients is maintained.
Hugh also gave details of support and advice available to people experiencing eating disorders: