Rise in hospital admissions for eating disorders in Mendip
By Laura Linham
19th Nov 2023 | Local News
Recent NHS figures have revealed a concerning increase in hospital admissions for people with eating disorders in Mendip.
In the year leading up to March 2023, there were approximately 65 hospital admissions for residents diagnosed with an eating disorder, including 30 cases involving individuals under 18.
This number marks a significant rise from 50 admissions in 2021-22 and 35 prior to the pandemic in 2019-20.
Beat, a charity dedicated to supporting those affected by eating disorders, emphasises the importance of early access to treatment. The charity points out that many seeking NHS treatment for eating disorders face lengthy waiting times or are denied treatment altogether.
Nationally, England saw nearly 28,400 hospital admissions for eating disorders in the same period, a slight decrease from the 29,000 admissions the previous year but still a 35% increase from the pre-pandemic level of 21,000 in 2019-20. Notably, 23% (6,400) of the admissions last year involved children.
Tom Quinn, Beat's director of external affairs, expressed concern over these figures. "It is very worrying that hospital admissions for people with an eating disorder continue to exceed far those seen before the pandemic," he said. Quinn stressed the need for early, evidence-based treatment in the community to prevent more severe cases requiring hospitalisation.
Unfortunately, the struggle for timely and adequate treatment continues, as evidenced by long waiting times and cases of patients being turned away. The provisional data for the current year, from April to August, already shows 11,750 hospital admissions.
Quinn acknowledged the efforts of healthcare staff in assisting as many patients as possible but pointed out the government's failure to adequately support these services.
Responding to these concerns, a Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: "We're improving eating disorder and mental health services, investing almost £1 billion in community mental health care for adults with severe mental illness - including eating disorders - by 2024.
"Capacity at children and young people's community eating disorder services is also being increased across the country thanks to an additional £54 million government investment."
These rising figures in Mendip and across England highlight the growing need for more effective and accessible treatment options for those suffering from eating disorders.
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