Thank you for contacting me about eating disorders.
The Government is very aware of the need for urgent action on this issue following the significant increase in demand for treatment for eating disorders during the pandemic. Ministers have, therefore, committed to an ambitious access standard, aiming for 95% of children with eating disorders to receive treatment within a week for urgent cases and four weeks for routine cases.
Accompanying this is the investment of an extra £79 million in 2021/22 which will expand children’s mental health services, including allowing 2,000 more children and young people to access eating disorder services and increasing the number of mental health support teams in schools and colleges. It is also encouraging that the Government is planning to invest £696 million in services for adults with severe mental illnesses, including care for people with eating disorders.
NHS England and Improvement has been developing proposals for new waiting times standards, including for adult eating disorder services. Its public consultation has now completed, and the Government will consider whether to take forward these proposals in due course.
I note your views about being able to recognise the signs and symptoms of eating disorders and I agree it is crucial to make sure those affected can be diagnosed and start treatment at a time when it can make the most difference.
In a recent Parliamentary debate, my colleague Lord Kamall stated that the DHSC was working with Health Education England to improve training for GPs, and with the General Medical Council (GMC) to ensure that eating disorders are included in the outcome measures for newly qualified clinicians.
Eating disorders are an acutely distressing mental illness but with the right approach, and appropriate investment, I am confident that the NHS will be able to offer help, care, and support to all those that suffer.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking