Extra £5m for health boards to treat rise in eating disorders

More money is being awarded to expand treatments available to help people with eating disorders after services recorded “an unprecedented increase” in child patients during lockdown with cases “increasing in severity”.

Numbers of people suffering from eating disorders have soared in lockdown.
Numbers of people suffering from eating disorders have soared in lockdown.

Additional funding of £5 million will be provided to NHS boards as well as to Beat, the UK’s Eating Disorder Charity, to provide a wide range of support options to families and carers of people affected, as well as support for children, young people and adults.

The Scottish Government said it would also establish an Implementation Group, jointly chaired by former MSP Dennis Robertson, who has campaigned for greater awareness of eating disorders since his daughter Caroline tragically died with anorexia nervosa in 2011. A clinical co-chair will be confirmed later.

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The moves come after 15 recommendations were published by the National Review of Eating Disorder Services in March, which will all now be taken forward by the group.

Mental Wellbeing Minister Kevin Stewart said: “Sadly, we have seen an increase in young people needing treatment for eating disorders since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This additional funding will go some way to making sure they have the support they need.

“The funding will help NHS boards and Beat to further develop the services on offer. I look forward to working with Dennis and the clinical co-chair to ensure the right support is in place.”

In February parents group UsForThem Scotland revealed 46 girls aged between 12 and 17 were taken to the specialist ward at the Sick Kids hospital in Glasgow last year compared to just 10 in 2019.

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