Children of West Midlands Suffers Eating Disorders

 Children and young people with eating disorders in the West Midlands are having to wait weeks and even months for treatment.

 Figures from the NHS have revealed that at least 52 children and young people in West Midlands were left waiting longer than they should have been to access treatment for an eating disorder in 2017-18.
The number is likely even higher, as figures for some clinical commissioning groups in the West Midlands have been suppressed to protect patient anonymity.

 The NHS is committed to seeing 95% of children and young people receive treatment for an eating disorder within these targets by 2020.

 However, while around 92% of urgent cases seen across the West Midlands in the last year met these targets, around 20% of routine cases patients were left waiting longer than this to access care.
In fact, in at least nine cases, a child or young person in West Midlands had to wait for more than three months to receive treatment for their eating disorder.
Waiting times differ depending on where you live in the West Midlands, with 100% of urgent cases
in Solihull, Wolverhampton and south and central Birmingham seeing patients receive treatment within one week.

 However, no areas saw 100% of routine cases result in patients accessing treatment within the four-week target.

 Meanwhile, patients in Sandwell and west Birmingham were the least likely to receive treatment in a timely manner, with just 83% of urgent cases and only 69% of routine cases seeing patients access care within these targets.
However, there are many reasons for this kind of variation in waiting times on a local level, such as differences in available resources and in levels of demand for these services.

 Nationally, there has been some improvement in waiting times for children and young people receiving treatment for eating disorders in the last year.
Over the course of 2017-18, 79% of urgent cases were able to access care within a week, while 80% of routine cases began treatment within a month.
That’s up from 69% of urgent cases and 79% of routine cases seen in 2016-17.

 However, despite this improvement, experts warn that there is more still to be done.

 Tom Quinn, director of external affairs at eating disorder charity Beat, said: “We welcome the indication that services are improving and that nationally, services appear to be on track to meet waiting times for young people by 2021.

 “However, we are concerned that many people still have to wait too long for treatment and we urge the NHS to focus on meeting these targets as soon as possible.

 “We are worried that the extra funding promised by the Government to meet these targets is not always reaching the frontline.

 "The standards the Government have set only apply to under-18s applying for treatment and don’t address the fact that many people will develop an eating disorder as adults or don’t seek help early, when they would have a better chance of recovery.

 “The Government must follow up the improvements made by encouraging people to seek help sooner.
“We also need similar standards for adults, especially as research suggests they wait twice as long as children for treatment.
“The Government must ensure that anyone suffering from an eating disorder has the best chances of recovery by getting help early.”

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