Eating Disorders

Department of Health written question – answered on 22nd January 2015.

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Photo of Luciana Berger Luciana Berger Shadow Minister (Public Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how many people in England are awaiting inpatient treatment for an eating disorder following a GP assessment.

Photo of Norman Lamb Norman Lamb The Minister of State, Department of Health

NHS England advise that Area Teams do not currently hold routine waiting list information as most normal business would be via their in-region services with any more urgent cases being flagged by the local services to Regional Commissioners to look for an alternative out of region or independent sector placement.

Improving access for mental health is a key priority and part of the Government’s commitment to achieving Parity of Esteem with physical health services.

Achieving Better Access to Mental Health Services by 2020, published 8 October 2014, prioritises the development of standards for access and waiting times for the treatment of eating disorders. Given that the age of onset for eating disorders is most commonly during adolescence, NHS England is focusing initially on children and young people.

As part of the Autumn Statement 2014, it was announced that the Government will invest £150 million over the next five years in England to improve services for children and young people with mental health problems with particular emphasis on eating disorders and self-harm. We will make sure that children and young people with an eating disorder get specialist help early and in the community.

For eating disorders, this will deliver:

- swifter access to evidence-based community treatment;

- decrease in the use of inpatient eating disorder beds by at least 50%;

- reduction in relapse;

- fewer transfers to adult services – reducing approximately 70% of those who need to be treated as adults;

- an end to the current cliff edge of transition for young people with eating disorders when they turn 18; and

- an end to the variability of provision facing too many children, young people and families now.

The funding will be used to train staff such as psychologists and nurses to provide treatment that can be delivered on an out-patient basis, and to employ additional staff to enable the National Health Service to roll this out across the country. The funding will be used to reduce waiting times and to improve the way in which services are delivered for people with eating disorders. In particular, we want to move towards providing specialist care on an out-patient basis which will mean training more staff – psychologists and nurses – to deliver highly specialised care. With this funding, we hope fewer young people will need admission to hospital, their outcomes will be better and they will be able to receive treatment closer to home.

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