A new survey by eating disorders charity Beat suggests that GPs are not providing the necessary help to patients with illnesses such as anorexia and bulimia.
Researchers surveyed 1,500 people with eating disorders and found that only 15 per cent thought their GP understood their disorder and knew how to help them.
Many also felt they were not taken seriously, with one patient telling the charity: "I felt as if my weight had to drop before the GP would take my worries seriously".
Another revealed that their GP had said it was merely a "phase" they were going through.
Susan Ringwood, the charity's chief executive, said that many people only get the treatment they need when they become so ill that they have to be hospitalised.
She added that the charity will be "holding the government to account" on its promise to improve services for people with eating disorders.