Eating disorders are an acutely distressing mental illnesses, and can prove to be family, as well as personal, tragedies if left untreated. However, with the right treatment, delivered on-time, these tragedies can be avoided, and full recoveries achieved.
As you may know, already, NHS England has set an ambitious new access standard, and, by 2020, will aim to treat 95 per cent of patients within four weeks of their first contact with a healthcare professional. Urgent cases will find treatment within one week, and the worst emergency cases, which involve children, will find support within 24 hours.
Following recommendations from The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the Government has also committed an additional £30 million per year, until 2020, to improve community care for eating disorders – and, to date, this has funded 67 new or extended Community Eating Disorder Teams across England. I am pleased that the clinical guidelines put forward by NICE also recommended that patients will be treated at an age appropriate facility, which will ensure patients are cared for in the most comfortable environment possible.
Additionally, more money is being invested in wider mental health care than ever before, with over £1 billion extra funding into crisis care and perinatal services, as well as £1.4 billion devoted to transforming mental health and eating disorder services for children and young people over the next five years.
This is still more to do, of course, but, with these improved standards and investments, I believe the Government is making important progress, and helping to ensure that there is appropriate care and recovery provision for sufferers of these distressing illnesses.