A report investigating funding for children and young people’s eating disorder services in England has been published today.
The “Short-Changed” report, compiled by Beat on behalf of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on eating disorders, follows the promising step in 2019/20 when NHS England gave Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) an extra £11m of funding for children and young people’s community eating disorder services (so increasing the total additional funding allocated for these services from £30m to £41m).
The report shows that this increase in funding did not reach frontline services. Many CCGs spent only a fraction of the extra funding – collectively, spending on children and young people’s community eating disorder services was just £1.1 million more in 2019/20 than in 2018/19. In other words, 90% of the total additional funding did not reach the services it was pledged to.
In order to have the best chance of a full recovery, it’s vital that people with eating disorders have access to specialist treatment at the earliest opportunity. The access and waiting time standard for children and young people with an eating disorder, introduced in 2015, has led to major improvements in access to treatment in England. But increasing demand for underfunded services will mean people missing out on support when they need it most.
Even before the coronavirus pandemic, referrals to children and young people’s community eating disorder services were on the rise, which NHS England recognised when it provided the extra funding for 2019/20. As referrals continue to rise to record highs due to the pandemic, it’s more important than ever that the extra funding pledged reaches children and young people’s community eating disorder services.