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Eating Disorders: Children

Health written question – answered on 6th June 2007.

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Photo of Sarah Teather Sarah Teather Shadow Secretary of State for Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Health

(1) how many (a) hospitals, (b) clinics, (c) health centres and (d) other care providers within the NHS specialise in the treatment of children suffering from eating disorders;

(2) how many cases of children being admitted to hospital for illnesses or conditions relating to eating disorders were as a result of intervention from (a) a teacher, (b) a parent and (c) a health worker in each of the last 10 years.

Photo of Rosie Winterton Rosie Winterton The Minister of State, Department of Health

The information requested is not collected centrally.

We take the issue of eating disorders, especially among young people, very seriously. This is why the Department asked the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to produce a clinical guideline on the core interventions in the treatment and management of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and related eating disorders, and which NICE published in 2004. The guideline covers physical and psychological treatments, treatment with medicines, and information specifically for patients, carers and the public. The guideline is due for review in January 2008.

In the five years to the end of March 2007, we have invested over £400 million of additional money into the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) provided by the national health service and local authorities. These funds have assisted in meeting and then maintaining the Department's public service agreement standard of a comprehensive CAMHS, including services for young people with an eating disorder. Further funds totalling over £100 million have been made available to the NHS and local authorities in 2007-08 to help maintain this progress.

As primary care trusts (PCTs) consider local health needs and commissioned services, they will need to assess whether the right balance exists between in-patient care and home-based care, particularly at highly specialised levels, to help individuals with eating disorders. This means that PCTs will need to consider their commissioning role, where they work with local organisations and opportunities exist to commission services jointly, for example, where voluntary organisations can provide services more effectively than statutory services.

Between 2004 and 2009, the Department is also funding a five-year initiative, Shift, to tackle the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental health issues in England. Shift works with young people and professionals to promote awareness of all mental health problems, including eating disorders.

The Department funds several voluntary sector organisations involved with eating disorders, including Weight Concern and Beat, formerly the Eating Disorder Association, for whom we are funding a three-year pathways to recovery project, which provides a support network of people who have had eating disorders.

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