Developing New Services for Eating Disorders: An Evaluation Study Academic Article uri icon


  • This paper aims to evaluate the structures and processes of eating disorders services in two regional cities in Australia.Stakeholder evaluation undertaken between 2002 and 2005 uses interviews, questionnaires and service delivery data to examine: structure and patient profile of the two services, barriers and success factors and local factors influencing development of the services.The Bendigo service provided secondary consultation and specialist management with upskilling of primary care workers as a key goal. Patients were referred to the service via mental health triage. The Geelong service initially offered assessment only, with direct access for the general public. Treatment was offered from early 2004. The Bendigo service assessed 41 patients, 63% were diagnosed with anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. Most patients had a moderate or severe eating disorder. The Geelong service assessed 186 patients, 55% were diagnosed with anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa and 80% of this subset had not previously been treated for an eating disorder. General practitioners identified barriers to development of the services as: problems with capacity building and unrealistic expectations. The success factors were providing a locally based service with credible clinicians and effective communication.Activity analysis demonstrates that the goals for both services were met. There is a need to measure both short- and long-term patient outcomes in order to fully assess effectiveness and applicability to other settings. Local factors, such as availability of specialist providers, would need to be taken into account.

publication date

  • March 2006