Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has called on government to explain why it has not invested any additional funding into eating disorder services for 2023.
Teachta Ward said:
“I have received a response from the HSE to say there is no additional funding to develop new eating disorder teams in this year’s National Service Plan.
“The National Model of Care for Eating Disorders was published by the HSE in 2018. It aimed to establish eight adult and eight CAMHS eating disorder teams that would form the eating disorder network.
“There are currently five teams in operation with four more in development.
“One of the goals for 2023 by the HSE was to advance the development of the Eating Disorder Hub Network through the recruitment of additional specialist community Eating Disorder Teams across the HSE in line with the Model of Care and funding received.
“However, the response I received from the HSE this week said that no additional funding was provided in HSE National Service Plan to develop the remaining Eating Disorder teams or to add additional posts to existing teams where required to meet demand.
“Specialist Eating Disorder teams have been associated with faster recovery, higher patient satisfaction, lower costs, lower rates of inpatient admission and better case identification and to find out there is no additional funding this year is very concerning.
“Eating disorders have the highest mortality of any psychiatric diagnosis.
“Last week, I was told that no additional funding was available for early intervention psychosis teams and this week it is the same answer for eating disorder teams.
“What we are seeing is a lack of ambition and political will to deliver services that are so badly needed in our health system.
“There are currently only three public inpatient beds for eating disorders. I highlighted last month that there is no plan currently to extend that number.
“It has been five years since the Model of Care Plan for Eating Disorders was published and yet the government is doing nothing to deliver on this.
“This Model of Care was originally a five-year plan, to be implemented by 2023.
“The time for planning has passed, now we need action. There cannot be another Budget Day with no additional spending on eating disorder services.”