12 December 2016

Eating Disorder Patients Sent to Scotland for Treatment

Eating disorders affect the lives of many individuals in the UK; not only the lives of the person with the illness but also their loved ones as well. An eating disorder can totally consume the life of the affected individual, and often all that he or she will think about is food or how to get or avoid it, depending on the disorder. The person can become disinterested in hobbies and disengaged with family and friends; this can be extremely frustrating and confusing for those who have had little or no experience with eating disorders. A life with an eating disorder can be challenging, and the affected individual may be haunted by the condition for the rest of their life – even after recovering.

A recent report has highlighted that eating disorder patients in England are being sent to Scotland due to a shortage of beds down south. This is causing issues for many vulnerable individuals, who are having to travel hundreds of miles just to receive treatment.

Unacceptable

The majority of these patients are teens, who have had to be sent to Glasgow and Edinburgh residential care units, which are hundreds of miles from their homes. Many concerned individuals have spoken up about their worries; they believe that the lack of available beds is placing mounting pressure on those patients who are already in a ‘life threatening situation’. Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has said that it is simply ‘unacceptable’ and that plans are being put in place to eliminate ‘inappropriate placements’ over the next five years.

Not Ideal

Anup Vyas from Hemel Hempstead said that his 17-year-old stepdaughter was receiving treatment in Hertfordshire, Essex and London for a rare eating disorder but was suddenly moved to Edinburgh. He stated that his stepdaughter’s condition is so severe that she is ‘basically being kept alive in Scotland’, with NHS England acknowledging that her being so far away is ‘not ideal.’

The chief executive of Anorexia and Bulimia Care, Jane Smith, explained, “I’ve seen a rise in calls from people saying their children have been sent far away, miles away, to be looked after because there are either no services nearby or they are full. This is a life-threatening situation for young people. People are in inpatient care because they are at risk of dying. They are in a very fragile, risky state.”

Committed to a National Ambition

NHS England has promised to put £1.4 billion of cumulative funding into mental health services for young people over the next five years. A spokesperson said, “The NHS recently laid out very clear plans to expand staff and services for specialist eating disorders and other mental health problems, in order to tackle and eliminate distant out of area placements.”

Jeremy Hunt said, “It is clearly unacceptable for people to be sent hundreds of miles away for care at a time when they need the support of friends and family the most. That’s why in April we committed to a national ambition to eliminate inappropriate out of area placements by 2020-21.”

An eating disorder is classed as a mental health problem, and it can be notoriously difficult to treat. With patients being moved to the other side of the country, there is a worry that this could have an adverse effect on the affected person’s recovery.

Recognising an Eating Disorder

It can be difficult for family members to tell if a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder. The most common eating disorders are anorexia and bulimia, but many people suffer from binge eating disorder as well as various other types of food addiction. While it may be easier to recognise anorexia due to the fact that those affected by this tend to restrict their calorie intake and hence lose weight, other disorders are not so obvious. For example, people with bulimia may maintain their weight because they binge eat and then purge themselves.

Eating disorders are something that will stay with the individual for the rest of their life; even if this person recovers, he or she will always be at risk of developing an eating disorder again, which can be very stressful for concerned loved ones. Getting your loved one to realise that he or she has a problem can be a challenge, but with the correct support, it is entirely possible to get the individual to accept that he or she is suffering from an eating disorder and see that it is not healthy.

Help and Support

If you are worried that a loved one has developed an eating disorder and are unsure of how to approach the issue, contact us here at UKAT. We specialise in assisting those with eating disorders; our clinics are designed so that patients feel comfortable and safe, and our staff will ensure that clients have around-the-clock support as well. We have a range of treatment options that can be tailored to the specific requirements of the affected individual.

If you would like any more information or have any queries about our clinic, treatments or even our staff, then do not hesitate to contact us today and we will assist you in any way that we can.

Source: English patients with an eating disorder are being sent to Scotland because of the NHS bed shortage (Daily Mail)

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