Thank you for contacting me about Eating Disorders Awareness Week.
During the pandemic, I recognise that there has sadly been a significant increase in demand for treatment for eating disorders. I am grateful to Beat Eating Disorders for their campaign to ensure increased awareness among healthcare professionals of eating disorders as part of medical training.
Being able to recognise the signs and symptoms of eating disorders is clearly crucial to make sure those affected can be diagnosed and start treatment at a time when it can make the most difference. As such, I am glad that the Government remains committed to the ambitious access standard, aiming for 95 per cent of children with eating disorders to receive treatment within a week for urgent cases and four weeks for routine cases.
Accompanying this standard is the investment of an extra £79 million in 2021/22 to help meet this standard. Funding will expand children’s mental health services, including allowing 2,000 more children and young people to access eating disorder services and increasing the number of mental health support teams in schools and colleges. It is also encouraging that the Government is also planning to invest £696 million in services for adults with severe mental illnesses, including care for people with eating disorders.
NHS England and Improvement has been developing proposals for new waiting times standards, including for adult eating disorder services. Its public consultation has now completed, and the Government will consider whether to take forward these proposals in due course. Eating disorders are an acutely distressing mental illness but with the right approach, and appropriate investment, I am confident that the NHS will be able to offer help, care, and support to all those who suffer from eating disorders.
If you or anyone you know is affected by these issues and you think that I can help, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Thank you once again for taking the time to contact me about these important issues.
3 March 2022