Holly Cairns TD

Adults with eating disorders have been abandoned by the Government, according to Social Democrats leader Holly Cairns.

“There are just three public hospital beds in the country for the treatment of eating disorders in adults – all of them in St Vincent’s in Dublin. This is despite a Government commitment, when Simon Harris was Minister for Health, to deliver 20 new beds by 2023.

“Just days after I raised this important issue with the Taoiseach in the Dáil, Minister of State Mary Butler told RTÉ’s ‘Prime Time’ there are currently no plans to deliver the 20 additional public beds and that the model of care under the National Clinical Programme for Eating Disorders will be reviewed before the end of the year.

“The lack of State investment in this area means that extremely vulnerable people often have to go to the UK for treatment, paid for by the State, while others are forced to spend thousands on private care.

“Not only has there been a failure by the Government to deliver these desperately needed beds, there hasn’t even been an attempt.

“The fact that all three existing beds are located in one Dublin-based hospital means that people in other parts of the country don’t have access to them.

“This is an area that is constantly under-resourced by the Government, despite eating disorders being among the psychiatric conditions most associated with mortality.

“Minister Butler’s staggering admission last night represents a betrayal of adults with eating disorders and must not go unchallenged.”

April 26, 2024

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