– Only three dedicated HSE hospital beds for people with eating disorders –

Social Democrats TD Holly Cairns has called for dedicated eating disorder teams to be deployed to every Community Healthcare Organisation area in the country.

Speaking in the Dáil today, she also called for ringfenced annual funding to be allocated to provide adequate supports to those suffering from eating disorders.

Holly said:

“In February, I raised the shocking situation whereby no funding was allocated under the National Eating Disorder Treatment Plan for 2020, and that none of the €1.6 million provided in 2019 had been spent.

“Responses to my Parliamentary Questions revealed that the decision to temporarily pause the planned provision of national eating disorder services was made for operational reasons rather than clinical. I was also informed that funding had been diverted to meet existing demands to provide additional clinical supports, such as agency staffing.

“We need clear assurances that this will not happen again. Bureaucratic decisions cannot be allowed to affect the treatment of vulnerable people.

“My party colleague Gary Gannon TD has added an amendment to today’s motion on mental health to guarantee dedicated, ringfenced annual funding for eating disorders and to ensure there is a community eating disorder team deployed in every Community Healthcare Organisation area.

“The reality is that eating disorders disproportionately present among young women and are among the psychiatric conditions most associated with mortality. Shockingly, there are only three dedicated HSE hospital beds for people living with eating disorders – those who desperately need care simply cannot get it.

“There have been several cases of young women having difficulties accessing appropriate medical care for severe eating disorders. These cases indicate there is still a significant gap between the Government’s stated intention to spend the money on services this year and the actual experience of those who desperately need access to appropriate supports.

“Covid-19 has put our mental health services under severe pressure and those suffering from eating disorders should not be allowed to fall through the cracks.”

April 21, 2021

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