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Children’s lives ‘put at risk’ as eating disorder waits reach record high

Children’s lives are being put at risk, charities warn, as waiting times for eating disorder services soar to record highs.

The number of children waiting more than four months following an urgent referral for an eating disorder was more than seven times higher at the end of 2021-22 compared to the same period in the previous year.

Data showed that at the end of quarter four of 2021-22, 94 children were waiting more than 12 weeks following an urgent referral, the highest on record, compared to just 13 at the end of 2020-21.

The latest NHS data on waiting times for community eating disorder services for children also showed more than 1,900 children were waiting for treatment at the end of March. Of these, 24 were waiting to start urgent treatment - up from 130 last year.

Sophie Corlett, director of external affairs at Mind, said: “Our government is shamefully failing children and young people with eating disorders at the time when they need help most. Eating disorders have one of the highest mortality rates of any mental health problem. Children in need of urgent NHS treatment for eating disorders should always be seen within one week yet some children are still waiting for treatment after twelve weeks. This is irresponsible and disgraceful.”

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Source: The Independent, 12 May 2022


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