Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has called the lack of plans to expand inpatient capacity for adult eating disorders “an abject failure by Government”.
There are only 3 inpatient adult eating disorder services in the state.
Teachta Ward said:
“I have received a response from the HSE to say that there are no plans currently to increase capacity for adult inpatient eating disorder beds.
“The Model of Care for Eating Disorders, launched by the HSE in 2018, called for 23 beds to meet the demands for people who need specialist inpatient treatment for eating disorders.
“There are only three inpatient public beds available in the state, in St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin. However, they are only available to people in the catchment area of Dublin South East, Dublin South and Co Wicklow.
“It has been 5 years since the publication of the Model of Care and yet the latest response shows that there is nothing being done to deliver this service.
“This is an abject failure by Government and it reveals that they have no ambition and is completely unacceptable.
“Despite Minister Butler saying that eating disorders are her priority, we have seen no increase in inpatient eating disorder beds under her watch.
“At present adults who have an eating disorder diagnosis and require inpatient care can be referred to any of the HSE’s acute inpatient mental health-approved centres.
“They do not receive the specialist multidisciplinary help they need in these facilities.
“People who have contacted me spoke about how their loved ones were admitted until their body mass index (BMI) was increased to a safe level and then they are released.
“Because they did not receive the specialist multidisciplinary help they need, they often relapse and find themselves re-admitted to a non-specialist mental health service.
“It is like a revolving door. The HSE has no plans to increase adult inpatient capacity to 23 beds across the state as promised in its model of care.
“We now need to see action and leadership from Government in delivering on the priorities in the Model of Care.”