April 30, 2024
Minister’s excuses for failures in Eating Disorder services are unacceptable – Mark Ward TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has called for greater investment into eating disorder services.

Information received by Deputy Ward stated that, between 2018 and 2022, 718 adults presented to the HSE with a primary diagnosis of an eating disorder, yet there only three specialist adult eating disorder beds in the country

Deputy Ward was speaking following the Prime Time Investigates feature on eating disorder services in the state.

Teachta Ward said:

“Last week’s Prime Time Investigates programme covered eating disorder services in the state.

“The programme highlighted the struggles that service users and their families face in getting appropriate care.

“I have highlighted on many occasions the lack of public inpatient beds for adults with eating disorders. There are just three beds for the whole state.

“The National Clinical Programme for Eating Disorders is ambitious in the level of service delivery it hopes to achieve. The government, however, have often underfunded its rollout.

“2023 saw no new funding allocated to the National Clinical Programme. This means that it was not able to expand. Minister Butler said that they will be delivering only one of the intended three teams this year.

“Sinn Féin have consistently prioritised funding in our alternative budget to complete this programme at the rate that is needed.

“The HSE recruitment embargo has caused further difficulty in delivering these teams as the staff are simply not there. This needs to be lifted.

“Teams are also facing uncertainty over permanent offices, as was highlighted to me in a parliamentary question response. Government is dropping the ball on this, they have had years to plan.

“Sinn Féin have been working with eating disorder groups and advocates and I have raised their issues on the floor of the Dáil. The Minister can no longer ignore their voices.

“I do not accept the Minister’s excuses – she has had four years to deliver and yet has not delivered one additional team over the last two years.

“The Minister has said that there is no need for the additional 20 inpatient beds. Between 2018 and 2022, 718 adults presented to the HSE with a primary diagnosis of an eating disorder. Only 46 of these people received public specialist inpatient treatment in a dedicated eating disorder service.

“Demand is there people are not receiving the care they need when and where they need it. It is shocking to hear parents describe the level of capacity in 2016 to realise that it hasn’t changed.

“The government is out of ideas and is now out of time. We need a change of government. We need a government that will listen and will act in the best interests of those with eating disorders.”

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