/Only 3 dedicated beds for treating inpatients with eating disorders in Ireland | Buzz.ie

Only 3 dedicated beds for treating inpatients with eating disorders in Ireland | Buzz.ie

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar faced concerns from Sinn Féin spokesperson on mental health Mark Ward TD today over the lack of inpatient treatment for adults with eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. 

Mr Ward said that “three dedicated inpatient eating disorder beds across the state is a pathetic response to such a serious problem.”

The Health Service Executive (HSE) contacted Mr Ward on December 30, 2020 in response to a parliamentary question he put to the Health Minister enquiring about the option available for adults with anorexia to receive impatient treatment and how they can avail of it.

They stated that there were “currently 111 adult community mental health teams nationwide where 90% of referrals are offered an appointment within 12 weeks. All referrals are triaged to identify need where urgent referrals are offered appointments sooner.

“There are 3 dedicated adult Eating Disorder beds in St Vincents University hospital in Dublin.”

They pointed out that these beds were not national beds and were dedicated for patients with eating disorders.

The HSE said there is a plan to have “adult ED teams across the country in line with Model of Care for Eating Disorders,” but advised that anyone concerned about themselves or someone they know to contact their GP for an exam.

Their GP may then recommend referral to the secondary care mental health services for “full eating disorder assessment.”

Mr Ward described the response from the HSE as “shocking.”

He told the Tánaiste, ““I was contacted recently by the family of a young woman who has been battling with an eating disorder. She disclosed to me that she needs specialist treatment for an eating disorder.

“What has happened in the past is that the young woman gets referred to a generic adult mental health unit. She is kept in until her body mass index is increased. She is then discharged back to the community without any specialist help.

“This pattern has repeated itself numerous times. This is not a unique case and is an indication of systemic failures in this area of health treatment.”

This response comes after the HSE has diverted money away from the plan for community eating disorder care for the third year since its plan was formed in 2018, as reported by The Times.

In 2019, there were 155 assessments for eating disorders carried out with 29 case consultations. 203 referrals were issued from primary GPs and it was found that 136 patients had an eating disorder, according to a HSE report. 

–Dylan O’Neill 

Want more of the latest news, sport & entertainment? Sign up to our newsletter!: