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New measures to improve Wales eating disorder services

On Friday 19th January 2024, Lynne Neagle MS, the Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Well-being announced some new measures to help improve eating disorder services across Wales. This included introducing at least 8 eating disorder hospital beds within Wales for adults, appointing a clinical lead for eating disorders to help drive progress and continuing to provide funding for NHS services and charities.

While it’s very positive to see more commitment to ensuring every person in Wales can access the help they need, we’re calling for even more urgency to help reduce long waiting times across the nation.

Jo Whitfield, Beat’s National Lead for Wales said:

'Treating eating disorders as soon as possible is critical, so it’s a positive step that the Welsh Government have appointed a clinical lead for eating disorders and are supporting the introduction of FREED. The quicker people can access the help they deserve, the better their chances of making a full recovery. But we know from the people we speak to on our helpline that it remains difficult to access eating disorder treatment across the country, and so the Welsh Government must act with even more urgency.

‘We need the Welsh Government to publish a plan with timescales to achieve the vision set out by the 2018 Welsh Eating Disorder Service Review, to care for the 60,000 people with eating disorders across Wales. The need for leadership and coordination – alongside the necessary funds - has never been greater.’

What’s next?

The Deputy Minister said that she will be announcing longer-term actions to improve mental health support, including eating disorders, when the new draft mental health strategy is published. We will continue to campaign for better eating disorder treatment across Wales and assist with health policies to help protect the people we support.

The 2018 review of eating disorder services in Wales made 22 ambitious recommendations to help people access eating disorder treatment, and to spot eating disorders as early as possible. But progress has been slow and in January 2022 we began our campaign called ‘The Time is Nawr’, calling for more urgent action.

We recently wrote an open letter to the Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing, urging her to make our recommendations an urgent priority, which was signed by almost 400 people. You can find out more about our campaign here.