Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Eating Disorder Waiting List

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Waiting for treatment within mental health services is something that really annoys me; according to the NHS constitution if you have a physical health complaint you have a legal right to treatment within 18 weeks of a referral being sent from your GP. Mental health problems aren't included in this; within Mental Health Services there is no "right to treatment" rules. You just have to wait and more often than not get more poorly whilst you are waiting.

Beat (Eating Disorder Charity) published a survey on waiting times within Eating Disorder Services last month and the results are shocking. Given the right to treatment within physical health services is 5 months, the survey concluded that 26% of people with an eating disorder waited more than 6 months for outpatient to start. Eating disorders have dozens of physical effects yet still because of it being as a result of mental well being there is no right to treatment. Following this 54% said they strongly agreed that they felt they weren't sick enough for treatment. Give someone who doesn't think they are "sick enough" with an eating disorder an extra 6 months to try and cope and they are surely to get more poorly, then they need more treatment. Early interventions are shouted here there and everywhere; if it isn't possible to be done why is it spoken about so much?

The survey also showed that 40% were told that their BMI is not low enough for immediate treatment. I am aware of someone that was told they "didn't meet the criteria for treatment". Do some professionals read books on how to make someone feel worthless? Telling someone who is crying in your treatment room about the situation they are in that they don't fit criteria will just push their self-worth into the ground. There is no need to tell them they don't fit criteria for a certain service, just ensure they have access to treatments that are appropriate.

The thing that annoys me about this is that there are amazing Doctors and Nurses out there that are fantastic at their jobs yet the rubbish ones always get the press. Contrary to what this might read like I have faith in the treating professionals it's just sad the lengths people have to go to in order to receive treatment.

For those looking for support in the mean time, I recommend visiting B-eat website, they provide brilliant advice and services.
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, UK

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