Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health Mark Ward TD has called for urgency to address the lack of help for people suffering with eating disorders.
Today marks the start of National Eating Disorder Week, and there are still just three adult inpatient beds in the state for people presenting with an eating disorder
Teachta Ward said:
“As we mark yet another National Eating Disorder Week, very little has changed to improve the care that adults suffering with eating disorders receive when they present seeking medical assistance.
“There are just three hospital beds in Ireland available to anyone over the age of 18 with an eating disorder. This is totally inadequate, and is an abject failure of this government to address this serious problem.
“Speaking with parents, they tell me that the transfer of care from child to adult services is non-existent, which results in a deterioration of any progress that might have been made.
“Young adults are being admitted to psychiatric facilities without getting the specialist treatment they need. They are staying in hospital until their BMI levels are stable and then released back into the community with little follow-up.
“The problem is getting worse because of this – more patients are presenting with the illness, and incidences of relapse are soaring. It is a vicious circle.
“Eating disorders have the highest mortality and morbidity within mental health, and they pose significant health, social and economic costs to those suffering from these disorders, to their families and to society.
“Early intervention, evidence-based care, and consistent support make a profound difference to the clinical and personal recovery of people affected by eating disorders, including those in adolescence when so many eating disorders begin.
“There has been an absolute failure to implement the HSE Model of Care for Eating Disorder Services. This was approved in 2018 and was to be implemented this year.
“A new eating disorder service was meant to open in Mount Carmel last year. This failed to materialise and has been kicked down the road.
“We need urgent action from this government now.”