Pledging of funds to aid children with eating disorders

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Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, is set to pledge an additional £150m to help children suffering with eating disorders.

The main aim of this pledge is to invest in preventative therapy, in a bid to reduce the requirement for hospital treatment.

The funds, which have been shown in the Autumn Statement, come after the release of figures which indicate that hospital admissions for eating disorders among younger people have increased in England.

According to a report from the Health Select Committee last month, many parts of the country are suffering under frozen and reduced budgets, along with the increased demand for services. This has left adolescent and child mental health services unable to cope.

There have also been headlines about teenagers being treated on adult wards, sent hundreds of miles from their homes, or being held in police cells.

Mr Clegg said he wants to see a transformation of the services, with the focus being moved from expensive care in institutes, to targeted community-based care.

The NHS spends about £200m per year on the treatment of eating disorders, with the bill for in-patient care averaging around £98750 for each admission.

During 2012/13, there were 2560 eating disorder hospital admissions within England. This is an increase of 8% on the previous year. Twenty percent of those taken to hospital with an eating disorder was admitted and discharged on the same day, however one in 17 remained in hospital for a period longer than six months.

The chief executive of Young Minds, Sarah Brennan, is very pleased to hear that support for young people and children’s mental health is due to receive additional resources.

She said the services for children and young people are often overlooked in preference for services for adults. Young people account for 20% of the population, yet they receive a mere fraction of the available resources and this has resulted in the shocking consequences that appear in the daily news.

She added that they hope this will be the start of a new national government and commissioners’ approach.

Image Credit: daniellehelm

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