Two teams in Wales set up to improve services for people with eating disorders are to benefit from the skills of specially trained doctors.

A total of £500,000 will go towards recruiting staff and paying for training this year, with £1m a year available after that to run the teams - one located in the north and one in the south of the country.

They will work with GP surgeries, social services, child and adolescent mental health services, and community mental health teams.

According to health minister Edwina Hart, a “small, but extremely vulnerable” number of patients with eating disorders had previously been denied the help they need.

The statement follows an ombudsman’s criticism of three NHS bodies whose wrangling over money meant that a mother and daughter were forced to pay for life saving treatment with their savings.

The plans will simplify the system by standardising the criteria for referring patients to other services, according to the assembly government.

Specialist clinical staff will support and train other health professionals and primary care workers will be able to follow an online course on eating disorders. At the same time, patients and their families will be offered a range of individual and group therapies.