Eating Disorders Awareness Week

Part of Petition - Removal of Royal Mail Postal Collection – in the House of Commons at 7:09 pm on 27th February 2018.

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Photo of Edward Argar Edward Argar Conservative, Charnwood 7:09 pm, 27th February 2018

I will come very shortly to overall spending, but part of that is not just the overall size of the pot, but how that money is spent and works its way through the system to reach the frontline. In 2016-17, we spent a record £11.6 billion on mental health services, and that amount will continue to rise year on year until 2020-21, by which point 21,000 new mental health posts will be in place. This is all very welcome, and I commend the Health Secretary and his colleagues in the Department for it. Funding is vital. However, although £30 million per annum will be available over the next five years to fund eating disorder services, the way in which such funds are spent by clinical commissioning groups sometimes lacks transparency. At times it is hard to follow the funding from its source to ensure that it reaches the frontline. Implementation is key, and I hope the Minister will tell us how the Government are working to ensure that every penny reaches the frontline eating disorder services for which it is needed.

Community-based mental health services are often the most effective local services to help people, but they and in-patient mental health services are commissioned separately, by the CCG and by NHS England respectively. That can lead to a sense of a lack of joined-up care, and it can mean that people have to receive treatment many miles from their homes and families. That can place a huge strain on families, and, indeed, on family finances. Beat’s report suggests that in some instances the cost can be up to £32,000 as a result of lost earnings, travel and a range of other expenses. I believe that funds for eating disorder treatment should be held locally by the same budget holder in the same pot to create incentives for the development of improved treatment and reduced costly in-patient care, with CCGs working to extend their focus on early intervention to include the earlier stages of the illness.