Improving Eating Disorder Services In Wales

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Two new specialist teams will be set up to improve diagnosis, care and support for people with eating disorders in Wales, officially announced Health Minister Edwina Hart.

The new teams – for North Wales and South Wales – will comprise of specialist clinicians and work closely with existing services such as GPs surgeries, social services, child and adolescent mental health services and community mental health teams.

Additional funding has been allocated to deliver this plan. £0.5 million will be available this year for the recruitment of additional staff and extra training. After that, £1 million will be available every year to sustain and develop services.

The plans, developed in consultation with health professionals and patients, will:

* simplify access to specialist eating disorder services by providing a single point of entry and standardising criteria for referral to other services;

* enhance joint working by staff and services to tailor support to individuals living with eating disorders;

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* provide specialist clinical staff to support and train other health professionals to recognise and manage treatment for people with eating disorders; and,

* provide access to a range of evidence based therapies that will be offered on an individual or group basis to patients and their families.

In addition, the Assembly Government has provided £5,000 for the development of an electronic course on eating disorders for primary care workers.

The new plans will complement work already underway to improve mental health services across Wales, including new units for people requiring specialist in-patient care. Today, the Minister opened the new Child and Adolescent Mental Health centre in Abergele.

Mrs Hart said: "Prompt diagnosis and treatment is essential in providing support and care for people with eating disorders. This will lower the risk of their condition worsening and improve the outcome for individuals.

"Providing earlier specialist support will reduce the need for patients to access in-patient services, but where this is needed, more services will be available to support them and enable them to recover and live more independently sooner.

"A great deal of work and investment is already underway across Wales to improve facilities and services for people living with mental health conditions. This plan will build on this work and focus services for a small, but extremely vulnerable group of patients, who until now have not had the level of care and support that they so desperately need.

"Local Health Boards will now be collaborating to set up the new regional teams and start to recruit and train new staff shortly."

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