Eating Disorders: Health Services

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 14th January 2020.

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Photo of Andrea Jenkyns Andrea Jenkyns Conservative, Morley and Outwood

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to January 2020 NHS Digital figures showing an increase in hospital admissions for eating disorders, what steps he is taking to (a) prevent people from developing those disorders and (b) support people in those situations.

Photo of Nadine Dorries Nadine Dorries The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Early intervention is beneficial for all mental health conditions. Our Green Paper on transforming children and young people’s mental health provision has the potential to significantly improve early intervention and prevention, which can help prevent problems continuing into or developing in adulthood.

The Government recognise that poor body image is a common problem and in most extreme cases can lead to eating disorders. This is why the Government has delivered a broad programme on body image which has included work with the advertising industry to develop young peoples’ ability to evaluate the images and messages they encounter in the media.

As part of the NHS Long Term Plan’s investment of an extra £2.3 billion a year by 2023/24, eating disorder services for all ages are being ramped-up across the country. This Government has invested £150 million over five years since 2014, to expand eating disorder community-based care for children and young people and we have seen positive results, with an increase in the total number receiving effective treatment in the community from around 5,000 in 2016/17 to over 7,500 in 2018/19. At least three in four children are now starting treatment within one week if urgent and four weeks if non-urgent.

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