An article in The Guardian has highlighted the issues with the NHS services for eating disorders, the increase in referalls especially in children and young people under the age of 19, and that the system is just not working.
The number of admissions to hospital of patients with potentially life-threatening eating disorders has almost doubled over the past six years, amid warnings from experts that NHS services to tackle anorexia and bulimia are failing to help those in need.
The number of admissions with a primary or secondary diagnosis of an eating disorder reached a peak of 13,885 in the year to April 2017, up from 7,260 six years earlier in 2010-11, according to figures seen by the Guardian. The latest data shows admissions are the highest they have been in at least a decade.
A surge in the number of teenage girls and women in their early 20s lies behind this dramatic rise. The admissions for those aged under 19 for anorexia went from 1,050 to 2,025 over the period examined.
The figures, obtained by the Guardian from NHS Digital, come as the UK’s leading eating disorder charity, Beat, said that calls to their helpline were likely to reach 17,000 in the financial year ending March 2018, up from 7,000 the year before.
Doctors, campaigners and MPs have warned that the rise in admissions indicated outpatient treatment was not working effectively. This was resulting in more people ending up severely unwell and needing to be admitted to hospital.
They also warned that patchy coverage of services meant people were relocating and even selling their homes to get effective care. The Guardian heard from one young woman who had to relocate to Gloucestershire with her mother because she could not return home due to a lack of effective community support.
“What is clear is that the system is not working at the moment. What we desperately need is more money put into community services so people can get support close to home when they need it. This means we can intervene earlier and stop people ending up in hospital,” said Caroline Price, Beat’s director of services.
She added that the admissions data was likely to be the “tip of the iceberg” in terms of how big the problem had become. “We can only get a true handle on this when services improve and assessment for these disorders gets better and GPs refer everyone, not just basing it on their body mass Index (BMI). People are often turned away as they are deemed not ill enough,” she said.
Read the entire article at the Guardian HERE
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