Friday 25 August 2017

UK waiting times for eating disorder treatment are getting worse, not better, according to The Times

"In Coventry and Warwickshire, which had the longest waiting times, patients waited on average for 14 weeks last year to see a specialist... despite extra money from the government to cut waiting times", says this article in today's Times newspaper. The Times also discovered that "Some trusts were still using BMI readings to decide whether to accept a patient for specialist treatment, despite Nice saying that they should not after criticism that this risks turning people away because they are not thin enough".

We know only too well about the panic of having to wait weeks and weeks for eating disorder treatment. You may remember that, following the eventual referral from our GP, we waiting a month before the acknowledgement letter came through from CAMHS only to be told that we'd have to wait a further 18-22 weeks before my son was seen for an assessment, let alone the actual treatment.

It is a tragedy that, eight years on, young people are still having to wait so long before getting treatment for an eating disorder. The report gives an example of a young woman who had to wait "five months for an appointment and a total of eight months until anorexia was diagnosed".

Like us, her desperate parents ended up taking her to a private clinic.

"She said: 'The illness can take hold quickly and by the time my mum had gone to the GP it had taken hold. When I had to wait months, it carried on getting ingrained. If I had been seen straight away I don’t think the recovery time would have been as long.'"

Same here.

And, as you will know if you've been following my blog, I'm a great believer that using the ancient BMI model as an indicator of the seriousness of the eating disorder is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.

Especially in boys who, if sporty, might have had a higher BMI to begin with.

(Don't even get me started on the subject of BMIs again...)

It's shocking that in eight long years little appears to have changed when it comes to treating young people with eating disorders.

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