Advances are needed to ensure safe and effective treatment is available for people with eating disorders. Recently developed clinical practice and training standards for mental health professionals and dietitians represent a significant step in this direction by providing a consensus statement on eating disorder treatment as a foundation on which to build competent practice. This commentary argues that a credentialing system could promote implementation of these practice standards through formal recognition of qualifications, knowledge, training and professional activities to meet minimum standards for delivery of safe and effective eating disorder treatment. Drivers for credentialing include the imperative to provide safe and effective care, promotion of workforce development in eating disorder practice and, importantly, readily available and transparent information for referrers, consumers, and carers to identify health professionals credentialed to provide eating disorder treatment. However, a number of factors must be considered to ensure that credentialing does not restrict access to care, such as prohibitively narrow criteria to become credentialed, absence of pathways for education, training, or professional development opportunities, and lack of consultation with or endorsement by stakeholders of the credentialing criteria, application and approval processes, and ways of identifying credentialed practitioners. Further work, including development of credentialing criteria and aligned training opportunities, currently being undertaken by the Australia & New Zealand Academy for Eating Disorders and the National Eating Disorders Collaboration in consultation with stakeholders in the eating disorders sector and health professions will advance understanding of the feasibility of a system of credentialing for eating disorders within Australia and New Zealand. The availability of clinical practice and training standards, supported by implementation pathways, including credentialing of eating disorders practitioners, aim to improve quality of life, reduce financial burden, and close the treatment gap.
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- eating disorders
- practice standards