Today the Long Term Plan for the NHS is published, laying out the strategy for the NHS for the next ten years. The Plan states that the NHS will boost investment in children and young people’s eating disorder services and will extend current service models for mental health for under-18s so people will continue to receive the same level of treatment until they are 25.
For adults, the NHS will test four-week waiting times for community mental health teams in selected local areas, but it is as yet unclear whether this will include adults with eating disorders.
Reacting to the plan, Beat’s Chief Executive Andrew Radford said:
“We welcome the announcement of extra investment for children and young people’s eating disorder services beyond 2021. The progress that has been made on reducing waiting times for children and young people with these devastating illnesses must be maintained and the extra investment should address the postcode lottery that currently still exists. In order to achieve this it is vital that the money goes to frontline services where it most needed.
“It is also encouraging to see the ambition to improve services for young adults and end the arbitrary transition from children’s to adult mental health services based on age rather than what is best for the sufferer.
“Measures to support adults with eating disorders are desperately needed and waiting times and introducing access targets in line with those for children would be a step in the right direction, with the necessary funding to make them achievable, must happen urgently.
“Waiting times standards help sufferers who have already been referred for treatment but it still takes nearly three years, on average, for someone to realise they have an eating disorder and visit a GP. We know that the sooner someone gets treatment, the better their chances of recovery, so the Government must do more to support people to seek help fast.”