No urgency from government to tackle eating disorders - Mark Ward TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health has said that adult patients simply cannot wait any longer for the government to increase the amount of inpatient eating disorder beds that are available to the public.
Currently, there are just three inpatient public beds available in Ireland, in St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin. However, they are only available to people in the catchment area of Dublin South East, Dublin South and Co Wicklow.
Teachta Ward said:
“Eating disorders are the most fatal of all mental health conditions.
“There is a lack of inpatient beds for adults needing treatment for eating disorders.
“Currently, there are just three inpatient public beds available in Ireland, in St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin. However, they are only available to people in the catchment area of Dublin South East, Dublin South and Co Wicklow.
“This is completely unacceptable.
“Despite Minister Butler saying that eating disorders are her priority we have seen no increase in inpatient eating disorder beds under her watch.
“The Adult Eating Disorder team in CHO 6 is currently based at St Vincent’s University Hospital.
“The community base will be within the Mount Carmel Community Hospital campus and will deliver outpatient and day patient services. Mount Carmel has been delayed. It was meant to open late 2021 and it has been put on hold until late 2022 at the earliest.
“At present adults who have an eating disorder diagnosis and require inpatient care can be referred to any of the HSE’s acute inpatient mental health-approved centres.
“They do not receive the specialist multidisciplinary help they need in these facilities.
“In a response I got from the HSE it said that only a small number of people benefit from inpatient care. Figures I have would dispute this. Hospital admissions for eating disorders among children and adolescents rose by 66% in 2020 compared to 2019.
“We have also seen reports this week that the private National Eating Disorder Recovery Centre has a current waiting list of 50 patients.
“The HSE has plans to increase adult inpatient capacity to 23 beds across the state but there is no urgency.
"We need to see these beds opened as a priority."