Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has said he will pledge an additional £150 million to help find children and adolescent eating disorder services. It is hoped that this new investment will help bring treatment to children across the country.
The latest figures show that, between 2012 and 2013 there were 2,560 hospital admissions for eating disorders, an increase of 8% from the previous year. By the time someone needs to be admitted to hospital for an ED, they often have a very entrenched eating disorder. This means it will cost more to treat the eating disorder and take far more time.
In response, the new budget allocation will be aimed at preventative therapy to reduce the need for hospitalisation and to catch eating disorders early.
Currently there are simply not enough beds for all the people who need eating disorder treatment in the UK. Children are forced to travel large distances and leave family to get treatment. Adolescents are shoe horned in to adult treatment services and some people with eating disorders have simply had to go without treatment because the wait was so long.
Unfortunately, the £200 million currently spent on eating disorder treatments and the £150 million extra that has been pledged will not go as far as many people would like it to. The average treatment costs for the NHS for someone with an eating disorder is 98,750.
This is so high because of the nature of the mental illness and the care required to help someone with an eating disorder. Proper care requires dieticians, therapists, counsellors, nurses and a host of other people to make sure the patient is safe healthy and supported.
The treatment can also be a long process because someone with an eating disorder has developed a complex set of emotions, actions and ideas that all support their unhealthy relationship with food. All of these have to be undone and analysed to make sure that the patient can recover properly.